Federal Reserve minutes: Many members want action ‘fairly soon’ to boost economy

August 22, 2012

Minutes of the last meeting of the Federal Reserve reveal that many board members see the need for additional monetary action “fairly soon” to boost the pace of economic recovery.

The minutes also show that the Fed staff and many of its board members expect inflation and interest rates to remain low in 2014 as a result of slack in the economy.

“Many members judged that additional monetary accommodation would likely be warranted fairly soon unless incoming information pointed to a substantial and sustainable strengthening in the pace of the economic recovery,” the minutes said.

At least one member dissented, however. “One member judged that additional accommodation would likely not be effective in improving the Federal Open Market Committee economic outlook and viewed the potential costs associated with such action as unacceptably high,” the minutes said.

But the minutes said that “most saw no significant changes in the medium-run outlook” and that the Fed board members “agreed to continue to indicate that the Committee anticipates a very gradual pickup in economic activity over time and a slow decline in unemployment, with inflation at or below the rate that it judges most consistent with its dual mandate.”

The minutes show that the board members expected oil prices to ease, but since the July 31-Aug.1 meeting crude oil prices have risen nearly 10 percent.

Steven Mufson covers energy and other financial news.
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