FOMC Minutes Released Early, Hints at End of Quantitative Easing Timeline

The Federal Reserve was set to release its minutes of the latest March 19 to 20 FOMC meeting at 2:00 p.m EST today but the report came out at 9:00 a.m. EST instead. The reason is that some recipients were inadvertently sent the minutes on Tuesday at some point right after 2:00 p.m. EST to congressional staffers and trade lobbyists. Whoops!

What we care about is not the policy on rates as much as we the wording from Fed presidents and governors about the tapering off of the $85 billion being spent each month to buy bonds and other assets.

The FOMC maintained that investors may be taking more risks due to low rates and that vigilance is warranted for financial stability. The FOMC also maintained that the benefits of the bond purchases outweigh the risks and costs of the program even if the ongoing assessment of these purchases remains necessary. Most Fed members were shown to be supporting the asset purchases as supporting growth.

Another note is that fiscal policy has become more restrictive as the economic data has been somewhat more positive than expected. A few members said that a reduction in purchases should come around mid-year and should stop by year-end. The FOMC also of course threw out there that the pace of buying bonds could actually be increased if economic conditions deteriorate.

Before you get too caught up in the minutia of the report, we attached a large infographic showing the projections from Fed presidents below on when policy will be firming and what the target Fed Funds rates will be at year-end from now through 2015/2016.