The title of this post referes to the delay that the FED experienced in issuing FOMC meeting statement.
Usually scheduled to be released around 2:15PM, the announcement tends to be a mayor market moving event.
I have always been interested in the process by which indicators of economic activity, mayor news and other moving events are “released” into the market and how this process actually takes place.
Why Was Fed Statement Late? 20th Century Technology is the piece published by the WSJ’s Real Time Economics blog which sets some insights into this process.
The reason? Apparently a paper jam in the photocopier
Unlike almost all the other stuff that comes out of the government’s economic divisions, theFederal Reserve statement is distributed using decidedly 20th century technology.
First, it makes its way from the Fed to the Treasury Department press room via fax machine around 2 p.m. Then, a reporter makes copies for the entire room–on Wednesday that was a heavier than usual five pages multiplied by 80 copies, or 400 pages.
And, of course, the copier froze. The reporter had to run to another room and use a Treasury machine, spending precious minutes.
Typically, reporters get 10 minutes to read through the statement and write their stories. Because of the copier jam, that was cut to an eight minute countdown.
When time is up, one lucky Treasury Department official counts down the last 10 seconds and rings a ship’s bell, and the headlines fly. That was at about 2:23 p.m. — a little later than usual.
You see the problem here — fax and copy machines are the weak link. For all the times you’ve cursed a reluctant printer, imagine doing that with hot Fed news in hand.
“The mechanics of releasing the statement have been worked out over the years with the collaboration of financial news agencies,” a Fed spokesman said.