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What is the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee Meeting?
The Federal Open Market Committee consists of the seven Governors of the Federal Reserve Board and five Federal Reserve Bank presidents. The FOMC meets eight times a year in order to determine the near-term direction of monetary policy. Changes in monetary policy are now announced immediately after FOMC meetings. The Fed determines interest rate policy at FOMC meetings. These meetings occur roughly every six weeks and are the single most influential event for the markets. For weeks in advance, market participants speculate about the possibility of an interest rate change -- or a change in the wording of the post-FOMC announcement that suggests a shift in policy -- at these meetings. If the outcome is different from expectations, the impact on the markets can be dramatic and far-reaching.