The Federal Reserve said it will be patient on the timing of the first interest-rate increase since 2006, replacing a pledge to keep borrowing costs near zero for a “considerable time,” and raised its assessment of the labor market.
“The committee judges that it can be patient in beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy,” the Federal Open Market Committee said today in a statement in Washington, replacing a calendar-based phrase with language that gives it more flexibility to respond to economic data. It said the new guidance is “consistent” with its previous “considerable time” wording.
The reference to “patience” signals policy makers “are trying to give themselves more flexibility,” said Jay Bryson, global economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina. “This puts the onus on the data and they can interpret what patience means.”