To All Depository Institutions and Others Concerned
in the Second Federal Reserve District:
The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to raise its target for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to 3.75 percent.
Output appeared poised to continue growing at a good pace before the tragic toll of Hurricane Katrina. The widespread devastation in the Gulf region, the associated dislocation of economic activity, and the boost to energy prices imply that spending, production, and employment will be set back in the near term. In addition to elevating premiums for some energy products, the disruption to the production and refining infrastructure may add to energy price volatility.
While these unfortunate developments have increased uncertainty about near-term economic performance, it is the Committee's view that they do not pose a more persistent threat. Rather, monetary policy accommodation, coupled with robust underlying growth in productivity, is providing ongoing support to economic activity. Higher energy and other costs have the potential to add to inflation pressures. However, core inflation has been relatively low in recent months and longer-term inflation expectations remain contained.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Alan Greenspan, Chairman; Timothy F. Geithner, Vice Chairman; Susan S. Bies; Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.; Richard W. Fisher; Donald L. Kohn; Michael H. Moskow; Anthony M. Santomero; and Gary H. Stern. Voting against was Mark W. Olson, who preferred no change in the federal funds rate target at this meeting.
In a related action, the Board of Governors unanimously approved a 25-basis-point increase in the discount rate to 4.75 percent. In taking this action, the Board approved the requests submitted by the Boards of Directors of the Federal Reserve Banks of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Kansas City.
Press release (FOMC statement)
Timothy F. Geithner