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Absurd Inflation Discussion by Fed Jackasses

Courtesy of Mish.

Minutes of the July 25-26 FOMC Meeting show internal concern over the Fed’s inability to hit 2% inflation.

I counted 89 instances of “inflation” and 79 instances of “2”. As sub-categories of 2, there were 27 instances of “2 percent” and eight instances of “below 2”.

“Longer” came up 26 times. “Transitory”, a previous standout, only came up twice. “Idiosyncratic” a new buzzword courtesy of the Cleveland Fed, came up once.

Transitory

  • Beyond 2017, the forecast was little revised from the previous projection, as the recent weakness in inflation was viewed as transitory.
  • Some members stressed the importance of underscoring the Committee’s commitment to its inflation objective. These members emphasized that, in considering the timing of further adjustments in the federal funds rate, they would be evaluating incoming information to assess the likelihood that recent low readings on inflation were transitory and that inflation was again on a trajectory consistent with achieving the Committee’s 2 percent objective over the medium term.

2 Percent 

  • Market participants also took note of the summary in the June minutes of the Committee’s discussion of the progress toward the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run inflation objective and the extent to which recent softness in price data reflected idiosyncratic factors.
  • The staff continued to project that inflation would increase in the next couple of years and that it would be close to the Committee’s longer-run objective in 2018 and at 2 percent in 2019.
  • On a 12‑month basis, both overall inflation and the measure excluding food and energy prices had declined and were running below 2 percent.
  • In light of continued low recent readings on inflation, participants expected that inflation on a 12-month basis would remain somewhat below 2 percent in the near term. However, most participants judged that inflation would stabilize around the Committee’s 2 percent objective over the medium term.
  • Still, most participants indicated that they expected inflation to pick up over the next couple of years from its current low level and to stabilize around the Committee’s 2 percent objective over the medium term. Many participants, however, saw some likelihood that inflation might remain below 2 percent for longer than they currently expected, and several indicated that the risks to the inflation outlook could be tilted to the downside.
  • Participants agreed that a fall in longer-term inflation expectations would be undesirable, but they differed in their assessments of whether inflation expectations were well anchored.
  • Most saw the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as little changed from their earlier projections and continued to anticipate that inflation would stabilize around the Committee’s 2 percent objective over the medium term. However, some participants expressed concern about the recent decline in inflation, which had occurred even as resource utilization had tightened, and noted their increased uncertainty about the outlook for inflation.
  • They observed that the Committee could afford to be patient under current circumstances in deciding when to increase the federal funds rate further and argued against additional adjustments until incoming information confirmed that the recent low readings on inflation were not likely to persist and that inflation was more clearly on a path toward the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective over the medium term. In contrast, some other participants were more worried about risks arising from a labor market that had already reached full employment and was projected to tighten further or from the easing in financial conditions that had developed since the Committee’s policy normalization process was initiated in December 2015.

Absurd Discussion

I added a bonus bullet point above regarding “assessments of whether inflation expectations were well anchored.”

Good, grief, how ridiculous. Yet, this collection of group-thinkers believes in such nonsense.


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