By their words it is obvious to me that the Fed is concerned about the "D" word. And the "D" word is not Depression; it is Deflation. The Fed did not explicitly mention deflation; but the fact that they did not mention the containment of inflation in their policy statement tells me they are concerned about deflation.
•· Deflation is a condition where prices are always dropping so why buy now? Imagine if every purchase we made was like the purchase of a high tech device like a laptop or HDTV-unless you "needed" it right now, why would you buy it right now? If you wait 3 months its price will be lower.
•· Japan has struggled with deflation for over 15 years and it is very difficult to eradicate from your economy once it sets in. Deflation is harder to fight than inflation; thus we prefer inflationary pressures over deflationary pressures.
•· We will most likely see the Fed Funds Rate at 2% or lower throughout 2009.
•· It appears that the Fed is committed to keeping mortgage rates super low. How low? I don't know for sure as they did not say. I would assume with 99% certainty a rate below 5.50% and with 60% certainty rates below 5%.
•· For how long? I could see this being the case for 6 to 9 months maybe. Why? Fewer people normally buy a home in the dead of winter and we are 4 months away from the beginning of the buying and selling season. Or until housing sales rebound nicely nationwide.