Interest Rate Roundup

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

FOMC minutes just out

The minutes of the January 31 Fed meeting were just released. Some noteworthy comments:

"Economic expansion had picked up in the fourth quarter of 2006. Considerable vigor in consumer spending late last year boosted economic growth in the fourth quarter, supported by further increases in employment and income."

"The decline in residential construction continued to weigh on overall activity, but some indications of stabilization in the demand for homes had emerged."

"Although a spike in energy prices lifted total consumer price inflation in December, readings on core inflation had edged lower in recent months."

"The prevailing level of inflation was uncomfortably high, and resource utilization was elevated. The upside risks to inflation remained the Committee's predominant concern."

"Many participants observed that labor markets remained relatively taut, with significant wage pressures being reported in some occupations."

Reading the whole document, you get the sense the Fed is a bit more hawkish. But Bernanke's latest testimony before Congress sounded outright dovish. In other words, there seems to be a lot of indecision in Washington, D.C.


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