2011-08-10

Fed now stated that rates will remain near zero until at least the middle of 2013

Sparked by fears over a global economic slowdown, the gold price reached a new all-time high of $1,780 per ounce early Tuesday morning. The price of gold has rallied over $100 in the past two days alone as investors poured funds into the yellow metal and liquidated cyclically-sensitive stocks and commodities.

However, in early afternoon trading the gold price surrendered a significant portion of its gains, sliding back down to $1,725 per ounce. Weakness in the gold price coincided with a rebound in the broader equity and commodities markets as risk aversion subsided.

The Federal Reserve affirmed its dovish stance on monetary policy at its Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, but did not announce plans to launch a third round of quantitative easing (QE3).

In its official statement, the Fed noted that since the prior FOMC meeting in June, “economic growth so far this year has been considerably slower than the Committee had expected,” and that “downside risks to the economic outlook have increased.”

As for inflation, the Bernanke-led Fed contended that “longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.”

A key change in the Fed statement was to specify the timeframe in which “exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate” are warranted. As opposed to the “extended period” language, the Fed now stated that rates will remain near zero until at least the middle of 2013.

Three FOMC members dissented from the use of mid-2013, rather than “extended period” – Richard Fisher, Narayana Kocherlakota, and Charles Plosser.

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