The Federal Open Market Committee made no changes to monetary policy at their last meeting of the year that concluded a short time ago and provided no further hints at action they are likely to take next year.
They simply upgraded their assessment of the U.S. economy after the generally positive data that has been received since they met last month and, with a much friendlier board composition in 2012, will begin their work anew in six weeks.
Gone next year will be board members who cast dissenting votes on more accommodative policy changes in the fall – Richard Fisher of the Dallas Fed, Charlie Plosser of Philadelphia, and Narayana Kocherlakota of Minneapolis – while three of the four incoming voting members – John Williams of San Francisco, Dennis Lockhart of Atlanta, and Sandra Pianalto of Cleveland – appear open to more easing should the economy stumble.
The only 2012 voting member who has voiced opposition to more easy money from the Fed will be Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, so, when considering the improvement in the economy in recent months, the “nothing sandwich” from the group today shouldn’t be surprising in the least.
Markets were clearly looking for more, but they’ll have to wait until next year.
Today’s FOMC policy statement is shown below alongside the one from last month.