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Fed May Postpone Interest Rate Boosts Until December To Prioritize Portfolio Sell-Off

Federal Reserve officials signaled plans to begin scaling back the central bank’s massive bond portfolio starting in September, June minutes indicate. As a result, officials may table further interest rate hikes until December, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Chairwoman
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen

To stabilize the economy following the Great Recession, the Fed acquired $4.5 trillion in bonds and other securities in an effort to manage inflation and lower long-term interest rates. But with the economy now in its eighth year of economic expansion, there is less need for this aggressive quantitative easing program.

Officials are gradually implementing rate hikes and planning to sell off billions of dollars in assets. The move has positive and negative implications for the commercial real estate industry, since the Fed reducing its balance sheet could result in higher long-term rates, in turn raising borrowing costs. 

Taking all this into account, financial conditions remain comfortable as the Fed’s rate boosts have yet to boost long-term rates. Ten-year Treasury yields stood at 2.33% during midday trading Wednesday.