Fed announces new securities purchases, monetary policy criteria

The Fed's Open Market Committee announced that it would buy $45B of "longer term" Treasury securities per month after its initial program of buying such securities expires at the end of December. Furthermore, the central bank will continue to reinvest principal payments from its current holdings into agency mortgage-backed securities. Moreover, the Fed will resume rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction and continue buying $40B of additional mortgage backed securities per month. The Fed will continue buying securities if the employment outlook doesn't improve in coming months, the committee added. As expected, the Fed left the target range for the federal funds rate at 0%-0.25%. In a new step that had been discussed as a possibility but not necessarily expected by analysts, the central bank adopted monetary policy thresholds. The Fed anticipates that it will keep interest rates exceptionally low "at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5%, inflation one or two years in the future is projected to be no more than 0.5% above the Fed's 2% long-term goal, and longer-term inflation expectations remain well-anchored." The Fed had previously said that rates would remain exceptionally low through at least mid-2015. As far as the economy, the central bank stated that the economy continues to expand at a moderate pace, excluding weather events. Household spending has continued to increase, but business' investments have slowed, the Fed reported. As usual, one committee member, Jeffrey Lacker, voted against the Fed's action.