Goldman on what to expect from today’s critical FOMC minutes release

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Today the Fed will release the minutes from its last meeting.

Fed minutes are always interesting, but they’ll be really scrutinized today, giving the obsession over the QE3 question, and the shifting economic landscape.

Goldman’s Zach Pandl offered up some ideas on what to expect, including these three key points:

  • We expect that the meeting included a discussion of possible easing options. This discussion would likely include four main topics: 1) the benefits of mortgage purchases; 2) the potential for more “twisting”; 3) the appropriate way to communicate any additional easing; and 4) the pros and cons of sterilized asset purchases.
  • In Fed officials’ discussion of the economic outlook we expect a focus on the labor market, and why job growth appears to be outpacing GDP. Chairman Bernanke detailed his own views in a recent speech but other Fed officials may have differing opinions. Developments in European financial markets were also likely on the meeting agenda in March.
  • The March FOMC minutes could have implications for our policy call, which is currently for additional QE in the second quarter. If the minutes do not include a discussion of easing options, contrary to our expectations, or if the committee upgrades its view on the outlook significantly, this would probably take an easing at the April 24-25 meeting off the table, and may well push it out further.

Obviously we’ll have full coverage of the minutes when they come out this afternoon at 2:15 PM ET.

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