"Developments in Financial Markets and the Federal Reserve's Balance Sheet
The Manager of the System Open Market Account (SOMA) reported on developments in domestic and foreign financial markets during the period since the Committee met on June 22-23, 2010. He also reported on System open market operations during the intermeeting period, noting that the Desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York had engaged in coupon swap transactions in agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to substantially reduce the number of the Committee's earlier agency MBS purchases that remained to be settled. In addition, the Manager briefed the Committee on the System's progress in developing tools for possible future reserve draining operations. The Federal Reserve successfully conducted two more small-value auctions of term deposits to confirm operational readiness for such auctions at the Federal Reserve and at the depository institutions that chose to participate. The Manager noted that the staff was developing plans for additional small-value tests of the Term Deposit Facility. In early August, the Federal Reserve successfully executed a few small-value term reverse repurchase operations, including the first the Federal Reserve conducted using agency MBS as collateral, to ensure operational readiness for such transactions at the Federal Reserve, the clearing banks, and the primary dealers. There were no open market operations in foreign currencies for the System's account over the intermeeting period. By unanimous vote, the Committee ratified the Desk's transactions over the intermeeting period.
The Manager also noted the staff's projection that, if mortgage rates were to remain near their levels at the time of the meeting, repayments of principal on the agency MBS held in the SOMA likely would reduce the face value of those holdings by roughly $340 billion from August 2010 through the end of 2011. The level of repayments would be expected to increase further if mortgage rates were to decline from those levels. In addition, about $55 billion of agency debt held in the SOMA portfolio would mature over the same time frame.
Staff Review of the Economic Situation
The information reviewed at the August 10 meeting indicated that the pace of the economic recovery slowed in recent months and that inflation remained subdued. In addition, revised data for 2007 through 2009 from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed that the recent recession was deeper than previously thought, and, as a result, the level of real gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of 2009 was noticeably lower than estimated earlier. Private employment increased slowly in June and July, and industrial production was little changed in June after a large increase in May. Consumer spending continued to rise at a modest rate in June, and business outlays for equipment and software moved up further. However, housing activity dropped back, and nonresidential construction remained weak. Additionally, the trade deficit widened sharply in May. A further decline in energy prices and unchanged prices for core goods and services led to a fall in headline consumer prices in June." (read more)
FOMC Minutes From 8/10/2010
8/31/2010 06:09:00 PM
Find the August 10, 2010 FOMC Minutes release here (FederalReserve.gov) and read this article at Bloomberg.com: Fed Officials Saw Risk of Sending Wrong Policy Signal (Bloomberg). Here's a snippet.