Fed to start balance sheet reduction next month

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The Federal Reserve will begin its balance-sheet-reduction plan in October, the panel announced Wednesday.

“In October, the Committee will initiate the balance sheet normalization program described in the June 2017 Addendum to the Committee's Policy Normalization Principles and Plans,” the Fed said in a statement.

The Federal Open Market Committee left rates unchanged at a 1% to 1.25% range at its meeting, as expected.

“The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run,” the statement said. “However, the actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.”

The vote was 11-0.

“Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have devastated many communities, inflicting severe hardship,” the statement noted. “Storm-related disruptions and rebuilding will affect economic activity in the near term, but past experience suggests that the storms are unlikely to materially alter the course of the national economy over the medium term.”

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Monetary policy Federal Reserve FOMC