Factbox: Fed staff forecasts from FOMC minutes

(BestGrowthStock) – The following are the Federal Reserve’s staff forecasts as contained in the minutes of recent Federal Open Market Committee meetings:

JUNE 22-23 FOMC: Minutes released on July 14:

“In the economic forecast prepared for the June FOMC meeting, the staff continued to anticipate a moderate recovery in economic activity through 2011, supported by accommodative monetary policy, an attenuation of financial stress, and strengthening consumer and business confidence. While the recent data on production and spending were broadly in line with the staff’s expectations, the pace of the expansion over the next year and a half was expected to be somewhat slower than previously predicted. The intensifying concerns among investors about the implications of the fiscal difficulties faced by some European countries contributed to an increase in the foreign exchange value of the dollar and a drop in equity prices, which seemed likely to damp somewhat the expansion of domestic demand. The implications of these less-favorable factors for U.S. economic activity appeared likely to be only partly offset by lower interest rates on Treasury securities, other highly rated securities, and mortgages, as well as by a lower price for crude oil. The staff still expected that the pace of economic activity through 2011 would be sufficient to reduce the existing margins of economic slack, although the anticipated decline in the unemployment rate was somewhat slower than in the previous projection.

“The staff’s forecasts for headline and core inflation were also reduced slightly. The changes were a response to the lower prices of oil and other commodities, the appreciation of the dollar, and the greater amount of economic slack in the forecast. Despite these developments, inflation expectations had remained stable, likely limiting movements in inflation. On balance, core inflation was expected to continue at a subdued rate over the projection period. As in earlier forecasts, headline inflation was projected to move into line with the core rate by 2011.”

APRIL 27-28 FOMC: Minutes released on May 19:

“The economic forecast prepared by the staff for the April FOMC meeting was similar to that developed for the March meeting. The staff continued to project that the accommodative stance of monetary policy, together with a further attenuation of financial stress, the waning of adverse effects of earlier declines in wealth, and improving household and business confidence, would support a moderate recovery in economic activity and a gradual decline in the unemployment rate over the next two years. The staff forecast for both real GDP growth and the unemployment rate through the end of 2011 was roughly in line with previous projections.

“Recent data on core consumer prices led the staff to mark down slightly its forecast for core PCE inflation. The staff continued to anticipate that downward pressure on inflation from the substantial amount of projected resource slack would be tempered by stable inflation expectations. With energy price increases expected to slow next year, total PCE inflation was seen as likely to fall back in line with core inflation by the end of 2011, as in previous projections.”

MARCH 16 FOMC: Minutes released on April 6:

“In the forecast prepared for the March FOMC meeting, the staff’s outlook for real economic activity was broadly similar to that at the time of the January meeting. In particular, the staff continued to anticipate a moderate pace of economic recovery over the next two years, reflecting the accommodative stance of monetary policy and a further diminution of the factors that had weighed on spending and production since the onset of the financial crisis. The staff did make modest downward adjustments to its projections for real GDP growth in response to unfavorable news on housing activity, unexpectedly weak spending by state and local governments, and a substantial reduction in the estimated level of household income in the second half of 2009. The staff’s forecast for the unemployment rate at the end of 2011 was about the same as in its previous projection.

“Recent data on consumer prices and unit labor costs led the staff to revise down slightly its projection for core PCE price inflation for 2010 and 2011; as before, core inflation was projected to be quite subdued at rates below last year’s pace. Although increased oil prices had boosted overall inflation over recent months, the staff anticipated that consumer prices for energy would increase more slowly going forward, consistent with quotes on oil futures contracts. Consequently, total PCE price inflation was projected to run a little above core inflation this year and then edge down to the same rate as core inflation in 2011.”

Factbox: Fed staff forecasts from FOMC minutes