The Federal Reserve's Dual Mandate
Federal Funds Rate Projections
In addition to its interest rate and balance sheet policies, the FOMC has enhanced its communications and increased transparency regarding its outlook, objectives and policy strategy. Forward guidance regarding the likely future path of policy is one such communications tool. In its March 2009 statement, the FOMC stated that it anticipates rates to remain at low levels for an extended period. At its August 2011 meeting, the Committee elaborated further by stating that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low rates “at least through mid-2013.” In the January 2012 statement, in response to changes in current and expected economic conditions, the Committee altered its forward guidance regarding the period of exceptionally low rates to “at least through late-2014.” To further enhance its communications, the FOMC also published the participants’ projections for the federal funds rate in January 2012. In this chart, the dots represent individual policymakers’ projections of the appropriate federal funds rate target at the end of each of the next several years and in the longer run. It should be noted that these projections reflect the views of all the participants, irrespective of whether they are a voting member or not. Moreover, the projections are made in advance of the FOMC meetings and do not reflect how the participants’ views are enhanced from the discussions at the meetings. The statements released after each FOMC meeting reflect the policy decision of the voting members of the FOMC and their consensus view regarding the likely path of the federal funds rate in the future.