This week saw the release of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) minutes for the FOMC meeting that ended on August 1, 2012. These minutes have played a role in mortgage rates recovering some lost ground over the last few days.
These minutes outline the meeting and are typically released 3 weeks post meeting. During FOMC meetings, member discuss the state of the economy based on their most recent available data and vote on forward moving measures relating to money supply and management. There are eight FOMC meetings per year.
FOMC Minutes Summary / Excerpts
Manufacturing production: decelerated significantly in the second quarter
Real personal consumption expenditures: increased at a slower rate in the second quarter than in the first quarter
Housing Market Conditions: generally improved further in recent months, but activity remained at a low level against the backdrop of the large inventory of foreclosed and distressed properties and tight underwriting standards for mortgage loans
Real business expenditures on equipment and software: rose in the second quarter at a faster pace than in the first quarter
U.S. consumer prices: increased at a slower pace in the second quarter than in the first
Foreign economic growth: continued to be subdued
Economic outlook: most participants agreed that economic growth was likely to remain moderate over coming quarters and then pick up gradually
From the FOMC Minutes:
The information reviewed at the July 31-August 1 meeting indicated that economic activity increased at a slower pace in the second quarter than earlier in the year and that labor market conditions had improved little in recent months. In addition, revised data for 2009 through 2011 from the Bureau of Economic Analysis indicated that the recession had been slightly less deep and the early part of the subsequent recovery had been a bit more gradual than previously thought, leaving the level of real gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of last year essentially the same as estimated earlier. In the second quarter, consumer price inflation was markedly lower than in the first quarter, mostly reflecting substantial declines in consumer energy prices, while measures of longer-run inflation expectations remained stable.