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Minutes show U.S. Fed keeps door open for further monetary easing

(Xinhua)

11:15, July 12, 2012

WASHINGTON, July 11 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Federal Reserve took notice of the slowdown in recent economic activity and job growth, but needed more evidence to build consensus for another round of bond purchasing, minutes of the central bank's June policy meeting showed on Wednesday.

"The information reviewed at the June 19-20 meeting suggested that economic activity was expanding at a somewhat more modest pace than earlier this year. Improvements in labor market conditions slowed in recent months, and the unemployment rate remained elevated," according to minutes of the June Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting released Wednesday.

After the two-day meeting, the Fed announced that it will extend through the end of the year the "Operation Twist", a plan designed to push down interest rates on long-term bonds. It sharply cut its 2012 growth projection to between 1.9 percent and 2.4 percent, about half percentage point down from its forecast made in April.

"The revision reflected data indicating a slower pace of private sector job gains, more subdued retail sales, a lower trajectory for personal income, greater restraint in government purchases, and weaker net exports than the staff anticipated at the time of the previous projection," the minutes showed.

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