Fed to begin modestly reducing bond holdings


Fed to begin modestly reducing bond holdings

After showing a lack of direction for much of the day, treasuries came under pressure following the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.

The credit report company disclosed earlier this month that it had discovered a giant cybersecurity breach on July 29, compromising the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans - almost half the country.

Yellen said Wedesday she has not met with Trump to discuss who will be the next Fed chair.

The committee did say that despite the hurricane impact, the Fed "continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, and the labor market will strengthen somewhat further". "The bond markets have fairly strong conviction that low inflation and low growth will persist", said Hiroko Iwaki, senior strategist at Mizuho Securities.

The Fed, as expected, also said it would begin in October to reduce its approximately $4.2 trillion in holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities by initially cutting up to $10 billion each month from the amount of maturing securities it reinvests. Moreover, the Committee would be prepared to use its full range of tools, including altering the size and composition of its balance sheet, if future economic conditions were to warrant a more accommodative monetary policy than can be achieved exclusively by reducing the federal funds rate.

The Fed's Open Market Committee announced Wednesday that rates would remain unchanged between 1% and 1.25%.

The Fed will also release new economic forecasts, and could also talk about the impact which the hurricane season will have on U.S. growth.

Amid the uncertainty, the Fed is considered all but sure to announce after its meeting ends Wednesday that it will begin paring its enormous bond portfolio - a process that's likely to cause consumer and business loan rates to rise gradually over time.

And the Fed's balance sheet isn't the only one that will be unwinding over the next half-decade; indeed, it's not even the biggest.

"Indeed, based on the Fed's current plans, the balance sheet would still be as large as $US3 trillion in four years' time."

Their projections remained the same as in June for the unemployment rate, which is forecast to be at 4.3 percent by the end of the year, and inflation, which is expected to be at an annual 1.6 percent rate by the end of 2017. But given that the chances of a December move are still 47%, the greenback will likely need a more hawkish assessment for the path of rates, i.e.an expectation of more rate hikes in 2018. That figure would inch up by $10 billion each quarter until it reaches $50 billion in monthly reductions a year from now. Inflation has stalled, and prices are now rising just 1.4 percent annually.

The issue of when and how the Fed will manipulate its main policy lever - its target for short-term rates - in coming months is less clear.

"Clearly the Fed doesn't have answers on the 2017 low inflation weakness but they're still very sensitive to falling behind the curve so they want to stay in front of the inflation curve". Its size reflects bond purchases the Fed made after the crisis struck to try to ease long-term borrowing rates, encourage spending and energize an anemic economy.

Both the Dow and S&P 500 fell following the Fed statement but reversed those losses to end the session slightly higher and add to a string of closing records.



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