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 September’s meeting, the pace of economic and job growth “continues to be slow”. Housing starts are “depressed”, income growth is “modest” and commercial real estate investment is “weak”.
With respect to its prior economic stimuli, the Fed deemed the recovery “disappointingly slow”, while, at the same time, noting that growth will come.
The Fed also noted that inflation is running lower that what’s optimal, hinting at the potential for deflation.
Lastly, the Fed re-acknowledged its plan to hold the Fed Funds Rate near zero percent “for an extended period”, and also announced a new, $600 billion support package for the bond market. In most instances, a move like this would drive mortgage rates lower, but the Fed’s stimulus had been widely telegraphed, and $600 billion isn’t too far from the initial package estimates.
Mortgage market reaction has been muted thus far. Mortgage rates in Chicago are unchanged post-FOMC, but looked poised to worsen.
The FOMC’s next scheduled meeting is December 14, 2010. It’s the last scheduled meeting of the year.