Fed Releases Transcripts of 2016 Policy Meetings

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Recently published records shed light on officials’ debate about how fast to raise interest rates

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The Fed raised its benchmark interest rate just once in December 2016, weeks after Donald Trump won the presidential election.

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Hundreds of pages from eight policy meetings in 2016, made public by the central bank after a traditional five-year hiatus, provide the most complete view of decision-making at the dawn of the transition to “normalization” policy.

While the policy results of the meetings were announced shortly after they ended, and summaries of the sessions were released three weeks later, verbatim transcripts of the discussions were not yet public.

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The tapes also offered new insight into the thinking of several key players still on the policy-making landscape, including Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who was entering his fifth year as governor, and then-Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Who is now Treasury Secretary. ,

They show officials grappling with that December how the election of Mr. Trump, who campaigned on promises to reform government spending, taxes and trade policy, will reshape the growth and inflation outlook for years to come.

They also reveal the officers’ sense of humor in their hours of policy deliberations. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard began his discussion of the economy with a joke on December 13, 2016. “According to some interpretations of the Book of Revelation, when three unusual events occur simultaneously, they may be a sign that the apocalypse is near. Let’s take stock,” he began. “The Chicago Cubs have won the World Series, Donald Trump has won the presidency, and Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize.”

Write Nick Timiros and [email protected]

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