Part I. Monetary Policy
Go to the website of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors at www.federalreserve.gov and click on “Monetary
Policy” and then on “Reports” on the left hand side of the page.
Under the “Reports” tab click on “Beige Book”. Note, alternatively, that you can go directly to the Beige Book
website at http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/beigebook/default.htm.
After reading the most recent Beige Book Report, drawing on other indicators available from
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/ (be sure to spend time researching this site for relevant economic data and
trends), and reviewing other resources provided in class:
a. Provide a through critique of the policy actions summarized in the most recent Federal Open Market
Committee Policy Statement. Note that the most recent statement/press release is available from
http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/default.htm (The latest press release is available under
the “Related Information” heading by clicking on “Recent Statement”.) Based on your review of the Beige
Book and an analysis and summary of recent indicators, your critique should provide specific reasons why
you agree or disagree with the actions taken by the Fed. Your analysis should be 2-4 double-spaced pages
b. Do you consider the current policy actions by Federal Reserve to be potentially inflationary or
c. Considering the global economy and the recent actions of the Federal Reserve relative to those of other
central banks around the world (e.g. the ECB and China), 1) explain the movements in the value of the
dollar during the past year. 2) Do you expect the dollar to continue its strength in 2018? Explain why or
d. Based on your preceding analysis in parts a-c, would you have voted for or against the FOMC Policy Action
as described in the most recent FOMC Press Release (Recent Statement)? Why or why not?
Keep in mind that, because this statement is formed by a committee, it is reasonable that even those
members voting in the affirmative may not agree with all aspects of the policy action. So, you must
determine whether the analysis, summarized in part a., gives you sufficient reason to vote against the
overall policy action described in the most recent FOMC Press Release. Since you have already
provided an analysis in part a. (above), your response may be limited to 1-2 paragraphs addressing the
specific reasons you support, or do not support, the consensus statement.3
Part II. Policy Decisions for Changing Economic Conditions
Assume for the purpose of this exercise that the following economic conditions will exist at the time of your
graduation from the Graduate School of Banking at LSU in May 2019 (assume that trends are reflective of 6 months
GDP: 3.4% (stable)
PCE Inflation: 3.3% (trending slightly upward)
Core PCE Inflation: 3.1% (trending slightly upward)
Headline (U3) Unemployment: 5.0% (stable)
U6 Unemployment: 8.5% (stable)
Labor Participation Rate: 65% (trending slightly upward)
Consumer Sentiment (University of Michigan): 90 (stable)
Housing Permits (new privately owned): 1 Million Units
Case Schiller Index (20 City Composite): 180 (trending upward)
Term Structure of Interest Rates (Yield Curve as of May 2017): 3-month T-bill 1.25%; 1-year T-bill 2.0%; 10-year Tbond 4.25%; 20-year T-bond 5.50%
30-Year Mortgage Rate (Average for Qualifying Mortgages): 5.50%
Federal Funds Rate (Targeted Range): 0.75 – 1.00%
Interest on Reserve Balances: .75%
a. Based on this information and what you have learned about the various “tools in the toolkit” of the Federal
Reserve, prepare a 2-page (double-spaced) monetary directive. While you might describe it as generally
“accommodative” or “restrictive”, be sure to address how you would adjust monetary policy through the
use of interest on reserves and specific types of open market operations (recall our discussion of
traditional purchases and sales, QE, and the purchase/sale of MBS as well as Treasury securities). Because
policy decisions are made at the margin, please feel free to speak in terms of raising (or lowering) the
targeted Federal Funds rate by 25, 50, etc. basis points and raising/lowering interest paid on reserves by
a specific amount from the levels indicated above. Your response should also include specific types and
associated maturities of asset purchases/sales. (Hint: This refers to the currently more targeted approach
to monetary policy we discussed in class).
b. Would the level of debt and deficits, tax policies, bank regulatory policies (especially those related to
capital requirements and lending regulations), or other government interventions have any bearing on
the monetary actions discussed in Part a. above? Explain in detail but limit your response to 2 doublespaced pages.
c. Discuss how monetary policy actions can affect your specific institution’s profitability and product and
service offerings. This question is designed for you to consider the effect of interest rate and associated
risks on your bank’s lending practices, security portfolio decisions, liability mix, and service offerings.
Consequently, you are encouraged to discuss this question with senior staff members at your institution.
Please limit your response to 2-3 double-spaced pages.
Part I. Monetary Policy