Fed Leaders to Air Interest Rate Forecasts

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Adler

WASHINGTON a In a continued sign of the Federal Reserve Board's beefed-up communication strategy, the central bank will begin airing senior officials' projections for the direction of future interest rates, according to official Fed minutes released Tuesday.

At last month's meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the central bank's policymaking body, participants "noted their dissatisfaction" with how the committee's views on Fed policy trends are communicated. Currently, members' forecasts about economic growth, jobs and inflation are aired in the FOMC's Summary of Economic Projections, released four times a year, but their projections about monetary policy a which may be tied to those other economic indicators a are not included.

The FOMC moved to include participants' projections about monetary policy starting this month.

Most FOMC members "agreed that adding their projections of the target federal funds rate to the economic projections already provided in the SEP would help the public better understand the committee's monetary policy decisions and the ways in which those decisions depend on members' assessments of economic and financial conditions," the meeting minutes said.

The decision comes in the wake of other Fed efforts to improve its public-awareness system. Last March, the central bank announced that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke would begin holding quarterly press conferences to take questions about monetary policy. Bernanke's three press conferences since then have tackled a range of topics, extending well beyond monetary policy matters. …