The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) concluded its two-day meeting this past Wednesday and left its benchmark interest rate and asset purchases unchanged. The major modification in the FOMC’s statement was the acknowledgement that progress is being made towards its goals of maximum employment and price stability, which opens up the door to the potential tapering of asset purchases in the near future. The Fed has been buying at least $80 billion of U.S. Treasuries and $40 billion of agency MBS per month which has ballooned its balance sheet to over $8 trillion (roughly 8 times the size prior to the financial crisis). With robust economic growth in the U.S., coupled with accommodative financial conditions, some market participants question the need of the current pace of quantitative easing.
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