2012-01-26

Gold and silver prices surged higher alongside after the Federal Reserve extended the time period for its near-zero interest rate policy

Gold and silver prices surged higher alongside after the Federal Reserve extended the time period for its near-zero interest rate policy from mid-2013 to late-2014.

The Federal Reserve did not launch a third round of quantitative easing (QE3) at its Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting today, but did extend the timeframe for near-zero interest rates from mid-2013 to late-2014.

In addition, the tone of the Fed statement was a bit more dovish than that from last month’s meeting. Specifically, the latest statement said that “the Committee expects to maintain a highly accommodative stance for monetary policy” – which was language not included in the prior statement.

Another key difference was that the one dissenting vote came from a hawkish rather than dovish member. Last month, Charles Evans dissented because he supported “additional policy accommodation.” This time, Jeffrey Lacker “preferred to omit the description of the time period over which economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate.”

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold his third-ever post-FOMC press conference at 2:15pm ET today.

Following the release of the Fed statement, gold futures turned sharply higher. The gold price had already pared its losses by climbing back from $1,649.20 to $1,658 prior to the announcement, and subsequently rallied above $1,670 per ounce.The rebound in gold coincided with a move lower in the U.S. dollar, which relinquished its gains against a basket of foreign currencies.

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