effective funds rate

Sweet Nothings from the Federal Reserve FOMC Statement

So much for Helicopter Ben swooping in and enacting more quantitative easing. The FOMC statement tells us nothing we don't already know. Nor does the Fed have any more magic bullets. The economy sucks, we have a jobs crisis and about the only thing new is a mid-2013 end date for keeping interest rates extraordinarily low:

The Committee decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent. The Committee currently anticipates that economic conditions--including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run--are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through mid-2013.

There were three dissenters, out of 10, on the decision to guarantee a low federal funds for a two year time period, preferring no defined time window.

What one can gleam from this is the Federal Reserve now believes this economic malaise will continue for two more years. We've known that but now it's official, the Fed is acknowledging the long, protracted economic disaster which is the new normal of America.

The good news is the Fed at least acknowledges our terrible economy, although their previous GDP, unemployment and growth projections were much happy talk.

We Don't Have Jobs, Fed Will Raise Rates Anyway

We can’t wait until unemployment is where we’d like it to be” or inflation gets “out of control” to tighten credit

The above is a quote from Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke.

Gets worse, Bernanke believes the economy will not dip into another recession, yet of course, unemployment will remain at high levels.

While the Fed will raise interest rates from a record low before the economy returns to “full employment,” Bernanke said officials don’t know when that process will start. The banking system isn’t fully healthy and lenders are “cautious” in providing credit, he said.

“The unemployment rate is still going to be high for a while, and that means that a lot of people are going to be under financial stress,” Bernanke said at the event, part of a dinner hosted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Bernanke’s stance is consistent with that of several Fed colleagues. Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said June 3 that the central bank may need to raise rates even with “unacceptable levels of unemployment,” while Eric Rosengren of the Boston Fed said last month it wouldn’t be “appropriate” to have rates close to zero with the economy at full employment.