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FOMC Minutes Suggest Fed Officials Wanted Bolder Action

Governors sitting on the board of the ""Federal Reserve"":http://www.federalreserve.gov/ pressed their fellow central bankers for more bond purchases, an idea the institution ultimately rejected in favor of $400 billion in short-term Treasury purchases to offset worries about a new recession, according to ""recently released minutes"":http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/fomcminutes20110921.htm.

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The minutes portray the last meeting of the ""Federal Open Market Committee"":http://www.federalreserve.gov/fomc/, held in early September, as one carefully assessing the current economic climate and an array of fiscal and monetary measures needed to sustain a recovery.

According to the minutes, two Fed board members pushed for ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£stronger policy action├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø in the form of bond purchases, while three members took issue with more measures, calling ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£additional accommodation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬ª not appropriate at this time.├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø

Minutes show that the two unnamed officials agreed to a buy-up in Treasuries after coming to terms with the idea that the Fed would not rule out other measures.

As with minutes from the last FOMC meeting, Fed officials acknowledged the laggardly housing market as one of several problem areas for national and international markets.

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├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£Activity in the housing market continued to be depressed by weak demand, uncertainty about future home prices, tight credit conditions for mortgages and construction loans, and a substantial inventory of foreclosed and distressed properties,├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø the minutes read, going further by discussing ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£very low├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø single-family home starts and permits as ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£home prices edged down further.├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø

Apart from the $400 billion in short-term Treasury purchases, the Fed also agreed to ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£support conditions in mortgage markets├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø by pooling funds from principal payments on agency debt holdings for mortgage-backed securities held by government entities.

The final word on more action from the Fed? The minutes record the FOMC discussing ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£the range of policy tools available to promote a stronger economic recovery in a context of price stability,├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø adding officials ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£will continue to assess the economic outlook in light of incoming information and is prepared to employ its tool as appropriate.├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø

The Treasury buy-up came amid a bevy of new concerns about a double-dip recession. A ""Fannie Mae"":http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html statement recently quoted chief economist ""Doug Duncan"":http://www.isurvived2011.com/on-the-panel/doug-duncan as ""presaging"":https://themreport.com/articles/fannie-consumer-outlook-for-prices-sees-new-lows-2011-10-10 a ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£mild recession├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø in the U.S. should ongoing debt problems continue to rile Europe.

As the Fed seeks to head off economic woes, protests persist under the leaderless umbrella of the ""Occupy Wall Street movement"":http://occupywallst.org/, many of whose protesters continue to rail against the central bank and big bank bailouts.

A small group congregated around the ""Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas"":http://www.dallasfed.org/ last week and largely dissipated by the start of this week.

A line of protesters held signs saying ""End the Fed"" as some hoisted high pictures of ""Rep. Ron Paul"":http://paul.house.gov/ (R-Texas), a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and outspoken critic of the central bank.

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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