Arab Today, arab today fed opens policy meeting amid tepid growth
Last Updated : GMT 08:53:10
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Fed opens policy meeting amid tepid growth

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Fed opens policy meeting amid tepid growth

Washington - AFP

The Federal Reserve's top policy makers began a two-day meeting Tuesday, when they were expected to shy away from launching new economic stimulus measures. The interest rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) began the meeting in Washington under the shadow of sub-par growth in the world's largest economy. "We do not expect that the Fed will announce any additional action in the upcoming meeting as the ideological division among members remains strong," said analysts at Spanish bank BBVA, reflecting a growing consensus on Wall Street. The FOMC is expected to wrap up the meeting Wednesday around 2:15 pm (1815 GMT). With few tools left in the box and the outlook murky, the Fed has been reluctant to embark on a third round of asset purchases, or quantitative easing, dubbed QE3. Instead Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues have preferred to wait and see whether a recent slowdown has been a blip, or a harbinger of worse times ahead. "We expect that this next meeting will involve serious discussions regarding QE3," said BBVA, "however, it is more likely that the Fed will announce QE3 in the September meeting." With the economy periodically lurching back toward recession, the bank has facing a difficult task in calibrating its response. Last week there was yet more ambiguous economic evidence, when the Commerce Department reported growth in the second quarter was just 1.5 percent. While that is far from stellar, it was still better than expected. The Commerce Department also published revisions of the last few years of growth data, which showed the recession was more shallow and the recovery patchier than first thought. Growth in the last quarter of 2011 was revised up significantly, from 3.0 percent to 4.1 percent. Stalking the debate are doubts that any fresh Fed action would make a meaningful difference to the US economy. "Central bankers have taken the ball about as far down the gridiron as they can," said Tony Crescenzi of bonds giant Pimco. "The Fed could implement another round of asset purchases, cap Treasury rates, cut the interest rate it pays banks on excess reserves, extend further its conditional promise to keep rates low, or perhaps consider some form of credit easing," he pointed out. "If the Fed did any of these it would mark another courageous effort by... Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, but it will never get the ball into the end zone."

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