This month positive strides occurred in the Federal Open Market Committee's goal of transparency. The FOMC released its first formal statement of its policy goals, which included a precise target for the inflation side of its mandate: 2 percent for the personal consumption expenditures price index.
Another first: The FOMC disclosed committee members' projections for the "appropriate" federal funds rate for the next few years and beyond. The FOMC’s pledge to keep rates "exceptionally low" was expanded from mid-2013 through late 2014.
While the outcome of this news appears overwhelmingly positive, there are still some kinks in the system. The funds rate projections, the policy statement, and Chairman Bernanke's statements, for example, all suggested slightly different timing for the onset of rate hikes. And the criteria for the next round of asset purchases remained vague, which is likely due to the ongoing disagreement that continues to plague the FOMC.
But the overall message of this month’s press conference and disclosed materials is evident: Under the FOMC's "central tendency" prediction, monetary policy will enjoy smooth sailing for three more years and may (fingers crossed) get even smoother over the long term.