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8月30日に8月9日開催分のFOMC議事録が公表された。以下は"Participants' Views on Current Conditions and the Economic Outlook"以降の箇所の抄訳である。全文はMinutes of the Federal Open Market Committeeを参照。

Participants' Views on Current Conditions and the Economic Outlook

In their discussion of the economic situation and outlook, meeting participants regarded the information received during the intermeeting period as indicating that economic growth so far this year was considerably slower than they had expected. Participants noted a deterioration in labor market conditions, slower household spending, a drop in consumer and business confidence, and continued weakness in the housing sector. Manufacturing activity was reported to be mixed. Participants judged that temporary factors affecting demand and production, including the damping effect of higher energy and other commodity prices and the supply disruptions from the Japanese earthquake, could account for only some of the weakness in economic growth over the first half of the year. While these effects appeared to be waning, the underlying strength of the economic recovery remained uncertain. In addition, many participants pointed to the recent downward revision to estimates of economic activity over the past three years, and some to the financial market strains seen during the intermeeting period, as contributing to a downgrade of the outlook for the economy. More-over, many participants saw increased downside risks to the outlook for economic growth.



Meeting participants generally noted that overall labor market conditions had deteriorated in recent months. While the employment report for July showed that hiring was somewhat better than in previous months, the release was still seen as indicating relatively weak conditions. A couple of participants commented that the exceptionally high level of long-term unemployment could lead to permanent negative effects on the skills and employment prospects of those affected. Another participant, however, noted that it could instead reflect a mismatch between the characteristics of the unemployed and the jobs currently available. Participants also discussed the labor force participation rate, and it was noted that extended unemployment benefits could be increasing the measured unemployment rate by encouraging some workers to remain in the labor force longer than they otherwise would have. Other participants remarked that the declines in the unemployment rate that have occurred over the past year appeared to reflect primarily declines in labor force participation rather than significant gains in employment. Reports from business contacts suggested that depressed business confidence as well as uncertainty regarding the economic outlook, regulatory policy, and fiscal policy continued to restrain hiring and also capital investment.





Inflation had moderated in recent months after having been somewhat elevated earlier this year. Transitory factors, including supply chain disruptions from the earthquake in Japan and a surge in energy and other commodity prices, had pushed up both headline and core measures of inflation for a time. More recently, however, as prices of energy and some commodities have declined from their earlier peaks, headline inflation has moderated. Participants generally noted that, with apparently significant slack in labor and product markets, slow wage growth, and little evidence of pricing power among firms, inflation was likely to decline somewhat over time. Measures of inflation expectations had remained stable. Nevertheless, a number of participants noted that core inflation had moved up, on balance, since last fall. Some indicated that the rise in inflation from very low levels reflected the Committee's accommodative stance of monetary policy, which had helped address the deflation risks of a year ago. A couple of others, however, suggested that the juxtaposition of higher core inflation and somewhat lower unemployment could imply that the level of potential output was lower than had been thought.



Most meeting participants indicated that the weakness in consumer spending in recent months was unexpected. The flattening out of consumer spending was seen as reflecting, in part, the modest pace of gains in employment and labor income. In addition, household spending on autos had been held back by low inventories, and participants generally expected a pickup in sales of motor vehicles in coming months as production rebounded. Nonetheless, low consumer confidence, efforts to rebuild balance sheets, and heightened caution on the part of households facing an uncertain economic environment were seen as factors likely to continue to weigh on household spending going forward. Several participants also pointed to financial constraints, particularly depressed home prices and still-tight credit conditions, as further restraining consumer spending for a time.



Business outlays on equipment and software continued to advance, although at a slower pace than earlier in the year. Business contacts in many parts of the country reported that uncertainty about the pace of growth in coming quarters and a general slump in business confidence had made some firms reluctant to expand capacity. With home prices depressed, housing construction was quite subdued and seen as likely to remain so, while investment in nonresidential structures remained low.


The weakness in household and business spending was accompanied by fiscal consolidation at the state and local level. The shedding of state and local government jobs contributed to the deterioration in overall labor market conditions. Some policymakers noted that their outlooks for economic activity were shaped in part by an expectation of fiscal restraint at all levels of government.


Participants generally saw the degree of uncertainty surrounding the outlook for economic growth as having risen appreciably. A couple noted that the cyclical impetus to economic expansion appeared to be weaker than it had been in past recoveries, but that the reasons for the weakness were unclear, contributing to greater uncertainty about the economic outlook. Many participants also saw an increase in the downside risks to economic growth. While participants did not anticipate a downturn in economic activity, several noted that, with the recovery still somewhat tentative, the economy was vulnerable to adverse shocks. Potential shocks included the possibility of a more protracted period of weakness in household financial conditions, the chance of a larger-than-expected near-term fiscal tightening, and potential financial and economic spillovers if the situation in Europe were to deteriorate.

参加者は総じて、経済成長の見通しを取り巻く不確実性の度合いはかなり上昇しているとみていた。2名の参加者は、経済の拡張にとって循環的な弾みが過去の回復時よりも弱いように思われるが、その弱さの理由ははっきりしないが、経済の見通しについてさらなる不確実性が寄与していると言及した。多くの参加者は経済成長にとってのダウンサイドリスクが増大しているとみていた。参加者は経済活動が景気後退すると予測してはいないが、数名の参加者は、景気回復がやや不安定なものであり、経済は不利なショックに対して脆弱であると述べた。潜在的なショックは、家計の財政的な弱さがより長引く可能性、予測されていたよりも短期的に財政の引き締めが起こること、 欧州の状況が悪化すれば潜在的な金融や経済のスピルオーバーを含む。

Participants noted that financial markets were volatile over the intermeeting period, as investors responded to news on the European fiscal situation and the negotiations regarding the debt ceiling in the United States. However, the broad declines in stock prices and interest rates over the intermeeting period were seen as mostly reflecting the incoming data pointing to a weaker outlook for growth both in the United States and globally as well as a reduced willingness of investors to bear risk in light of the greater uncertainty about the outlook. While conditions in funding markets had tightened, it was noted that the condition of U.S. banks had strengthened in recent quarters and that the credit quality of both businesses and households had continued to improve.


Participants discussed the range of policy tools available to promote a stronger economic recovery should the Committee judge that providing additional monetary accommodation was warranted. Reinforcing the Committee's forward guidance about the likely path of monetary policy was seen as a possible way to reduce interest rates and provide greater support to the economic expansion; a few participants emphasized that guidance focusing solely on the state of the economy would be preferable to guidance that named specific spans of time or calendar dates. Some participants noted that additional asset purchases could be used to provide more accommodation by lowering longer-term interest rates. Others suggested that increasing the average maturity of the System's portfolio--perhaps by selling securities with relatively short remaining maturities and purchasing securities with relatively long remaining maturities--could have a similar effect on longer-term interest rates. Such an approach would not boost the size of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet and the quantity of reserve balances. A few participants noted that a reduction in the interest rate paid on excess reserve balances could also be helpful in easing financial conditions. In contrast, some participants judged that none of the tools available to the Committee would likely do much to promote a faster economic recovery, either because the headwinds that the economy faced would unwind only gradually and that process could not be accelerated with monetary policy or because recent events had significantly lowered the path of potential output. Consequently, these participants thought that providing additional stimulus at this time would risk boosting inflation without providing a significant gain in output or employment. Participants noted that devoting additional time to discussion of the possible costs and benefits of various potential tools would be useful, and they agreed that the September meeting should be extended to two days in order to provide more time.





Committee Policy Action(政策決定)

In the discussion of monetary policy for the period ahead, most members agreed that the economic outlook had deteriorated by enough to warrant a Committee response at this meeting. While all felt that monetary policy could not completely address the various strains on the economy, most members thought that it could contribute importantly to better outcomes in terms of the Committee's dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability. In particular, some members expressed the view that additional accommodation was warranted because they expected the unemployment rate to remain well above, and inflation to be at or below, levels consistent with the Committee's mandate. Those viewing a shift toward more accommodative policy as appropriate generally agreed that a strengthening of the Committee's forward guidance regarding the federal funds rate, by being more explicit about the period over which the Committee expected the federal funds rate to remain exceptionally low, would be a measured response to the deterioration in the outlook over the intermeeting period. A few members felt that recent economic developments justified a more substantial move at this meeting, but they were willing to accept the stronger forward guidance as a step in the direction of additional accommodation. Three members dissented because they preferred to retain the forward guidance language employed in the June statement.


The Committee agreed to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and to state that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through mid-2013. That anticipated path for the federal funds rate was viewed both as appropriate in light of most members' outlook for the economy and as generally consistent with some prescriptions for monetary policy based on historical and model-based analysis. In choosing to phrase the outlook for policy in terms of a time horizon, members also considered conditioning the outlook for the level of the federal funds rate on explicit numerical values for the unemployment rate or the inflation rate. Some members argued that doing so would establish greater clarity regarding the Committee's intentions and its likely reaction to future economic developments, while others raised questions about how an appropriate numerical value might be chosen. No such references were included in the statement for this meeting. One member expressed concern that the use of a specific date in the forward guidance would be seen by the public as an unconditional commitment, and it could undermine Committee credibility if a change in timing subsequently became appropriate. Most members, however, agreed that stating a conditional expectation for the level of the federal funds rate through mid-2013 provided useful guidance to the public, with some noting that such an indication did not remove the Committee's flexibility to adjust the policy rate earlier or later if economic conditions do not evolve as the Committee currently expects.




Messrs. Fisher, Kocherlakota, and Plosser dissented because they would have preferred to continue to describe economic conditions as likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate for an "extended period," rather than characterizing that period as "at least through mid-2013." Mr. Fisher discussed the fragility of the U.S. economy but felt that it was chiefly nonmonetary factors, such as uncertainty about fiscal and regulatory initiatives, that were restraining domestic capital expenditures, job creation, and economic growth. He was concerned both that the Committee did not have enough information to be specific on the time interval over which it expected low rates to be maintained, and that, were it to do so, the Committee risked appearing overly responsive to the recent financial market volatility. Mr. Kocherlakota's perspective on the policy decision was shaped by his view that in November 2010, the Committee had chosen a level of accommodation that was well calibrated for the condition of the economy. Since November, inflation had risen and unemployment had fallen, and he did not believe that providing more monetary accommodation was the appropriate response to those changes in the economy. Mr. Plosser felt that the reference to 2013 might well be misinterpreted as suggesting that monetary policy was no longer contingent on how the economic outlook evolved. Although financial markets had been volatile and incoming information on growth and employment had been weaker than anticipated, he believed the statement conveyed an excessively negative assessment of the economy and that it was premature to undertake, or be perceived to signal, further policy accommodation. He also judged that the policy step would do little to improve near-term growth prospects, given the ongoing structural adjustments and external challenges faced by the U.S. economy.



The Committee continues to anticipate that economic conditions--including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run--are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate for an extended period.

委員会は、低水準の資源活用、中期的なインフレ見通しの安定といった経済状況の予測は FF金利を「長期間」にわたって非常に低い水準に維持することを保証する。

この部分を維持することを求めた。しかし、反対の理由については3人とも異なっており、フィッシャー委員は米国経済の脆弱性については非金融的なことであり、"Committee risked appearing overly responsive to the recent financial market volatility"という箇所については、いわゆる「バーナンキプット」、すなわち株式市場などが下落すれば、中央銀行が何らかの政策を打つであろう、とマーケットが期待してしまうリスクについて言及しているものとみられる。コチャラコタ委員は、QE2が導入された2011年11月の状況と比較すれば、インフレは高まっており、かつ失業率は低下しており、この段階で追加の緩和策を行うべきではないという認識を示したものと見られる。プロッサー委員については、経済状況がどのような進展となろうとも、2013年までは政策を変更しないという誤解を与えてしまうのではないかとの懸念を表明しており、ステートメントの経済見通しは過度にネガティブなものであり、早まった政策が取られてしまうか、もしくはさらなる金融緩和についてのシグナリング効果になってしまうのではないかとの表明を行っている。

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タグ: Fed  FOMC  時間軸政策  ZIRP 
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