They state, "leverage at hedge funds remains high" & "other core services price inflation remains elevated and has not shown signs of easing."
The Federal Reserve Act requires the Federal Reserve Board to submit written reports to Congress containing discussions of "the conduct of monetary policy and economic developments and prospects for the future." This report—called the Monetary Policy Report—is submitted semiannually to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and to the House Committee on Financial Services, along with testimony from the Federal Reserve Board Chair.
- Although inflation has moderated somewhat since the middle of last year, it remains well above the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) objective of 2 percent.
- The labor market continues to be very tight, with robust job gains and the unemployment rate near historically low levels, though nominal wage growth has shown some signs of easing and job vacancies have declined.
- Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth was modest in the first quarter, despite a pickup in consumer spending. Bringing inflation back to 2 percent will likely require a period of below trend growth and some softening of labor market conditions.
- In response to high inflation, the FOMC continued to increase interest rates and reduce its securities holdings.
- The FOMC has raised the target range for the federal funds rate a further 75 basis points since the start of the year, bringing the range to 5 to 5¼ percent.
- In determining the extent of additional policy firming that may be appropriate to return inflation to 2 percent over time, the FOMC indicated that it will take into account the cumulative tightening of monetary policy, the lags with which monetary policy affects economic activity and inflation, and economic and financial developments.
- The Federal Reserve also continued to reduce its holdings of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities; these holdings have declined by about $420 billion since January, further tightening financial conditions.
- The Federal Reserve is acutely aware that high inflation imposes significant hardship, especially on those least able to meet the higher costs of essentials.
- "The FOMC is strongly committed to returning inflation to its 2 percent objective."
Recent Economic and Financial Developments:Inflation:
- Consumer price inflation, as measured by the 12-month change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE), was 4.4 percent in April, down from its peak of 7.0 percent last June but still well above the FOMC’s 2 percent objective.
- Core PCE price inflation—which excludes volatile food and energy prices and is generally considered a better guide to the direction of future inflation—is also off its peak but was still 4.7 percent over the 12 months ending in April.
- As supply chain bottlenecks have eased and demand has stabilized, increases in core goods prices slowed considerably over the past year.
- Within core services prices, housing services inflation has been high, but the monthly changes have started to ease in recent months, consistent with the slower increases in rents for new tenants that have been observed since the second half of last year.
- For other core services, price inflation remains elevated and has not shown signs of easing, and prospects for slowing inflation may depend in part on a further easing of tight labor market conditions.
- Measures of longer-term inflation expectations are within the range of values seen in the decade before the pandemic and continue to be broadly consistent with the FOMC’s longer-run objective of 2 percent, suggesting that high inflation is not becoming entrenched.
- The labor market has remained very tight, with job gains averaging 314,000 per month during the first five months of the year and the unemployment rate remaining near historical lows.
- Labor demand has eased in many sectors of the economy but continues to exceed the supply of available workers, with job vacancies still elevated.
- Labor supply has improved, with a pickup in immigration and an improvement in the labor force participation rate, particularly among prime-age workers.
- Nominal wage gains continued to slow in the first half of 2023, but they remain above the pace consistent with 2 percent inflation over the longer term, given prevailing trends in productivity growth.
- After the strong rebound in 2021 from the pandemic-induced recession, economic activity lost momentum last year, and growth in the first quarter of this year was modest as financial conditions continued to tighten.
- Real consumer spending grew at a solid pace in the first quarter but appears to be moderating as consumer financing conditions have tightened and consumer confidence has remained low.
- Real business fixed investment growth continued to slow in the first quarter, likely reflecting tighter financial conditions and weaker output growth, while manufacturing output has been roughly unchanged so far this year after having declined in the fourth quarter.
- Activity in the housing sector continued to contract in response to elevated mortgage rates, but several indicators appear to have bottomed out.
- Financial conditions have tightened further since January.
- The FOMC has raised the target range for the federal funds rate a further 75 basis points since January, and the market-implied expected path of the federal funds rate over the next year shifted up.
- Though yields on longer-term nominal Treasury securities were little changed, on net, over this period, the relatively high level of interest rates has weighed on financing activity.
- Business loans at banks grew since the start of 2023, but the pace of growth continued to slow as banks tightened standards and average borrowing costs rose.
- Investment grade corporate bond issuance rebounded to a brisk pace in May, following a slowdown in March and April.
- Speculative-grade issuance rebounded as well but was still subdued by historical standards.
- While business credit quality remains strong, some indicators of future business defaults are somewhat elevated.
- For households, mortgage originations remained weak, although consumer loans (such as auto loans and credit cards) grew further.
- After having risen last year, delinquency rates leveled off in the first quarter for auto loans and continued to increase for credit card loans.
- Despite concerns about profitability at some banks, the banking system remains sound and resilient.
- Most measures of valuation pressures in corporate securities markets remained near the middle of their historical distributions.
- By contrast, valuation pressures in commercial and residential real estate markets continued to be elevated.
- Borrowing by households and businesses grew a bit more slowly than GDP, leaving vulnerabilities arising from household and business debt largely unchanged at moderate levels.
- In the banking sector, heavy reliance on uninsured deposits, declining fair values of long-duration fixed-rate assets associated with higher interest rates, and poor risk management led to the failure of three domestic banks. Broad bank equity prices fell sharply as market participants reassessed the strength of some banks with similar risk profiles to those that failed.
- However, the broader banking sector maintained substantial loss-absorbing capacity and ample liquidity.
- In the nonbank financial sector, leverage at hedge funds remained elevated, and structural vulnerabilities associated with funding risk persisted at some money market funds and certain mutual funds.
Other items to note:It is called out that interest payments on debt to increase. Also notice on the state and local level tax receipts are down?
ON RRP discussed:
While the Fed Twiddles its thumbs on hikes, it calls out foreign central banks remain focused on reigning in inflation:
- Fed submits Monetary Policy Report to Congress with discussions of "the conduct of monetary policy and economic developments and prospects for the future."
- They state, "leverage at hedge funds remains high" & "other core services price inflation remains elevated and has not shown signs of easing."