Today, the Federal Open Market Committee voted 9-to-1 to leave the Fed Funds Rate unchanged within in its target range of 0.000-0.250 percent.
In its press release, the FOMC noted that since November’s meeting, the “economic recovery is continuing”, but at a pace deemed too slow to make a material impact on unemployment rates. It also said that household spending in increasing, but remains constrained by joblessness, tight credit and lower housing wealth.
In addition, the Fed used its press release to re-affirm its plan to keep the Fed Funds Rate near zero percent “for an extended period” while also opting to keep its $600 billion bond market support package in place.
And lastly, of particular interest to home buyers and mortgage rate shoppers, the FOMC statement devoted an entire paragraph to the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate of keeping inflation and employment at acceptable levels.
The Fed acknowledges making progress toward this goal, but calls it “disappointingly slow”. Currently, inflation is too low for what the Fed deems acceptable, and unemployment is too high.
Over time, the Fed expects both measurements to improve.
Mortgage market reaction to the FOMC statement has been negative thus far. Mortgage rates are unchanged post-FOMC, but appear poised to worsen.
The FOMC’s next scheduled meeting is a 2-day affair, January 25-26, 2011. It’s the first scheduled meeting of 2011.