Just when market participants started to adjust to the Federal Reserve being on hold even longer than originally expected comes a potential twist.
When the central bank's Open Market Committee meets in a week, it may change a key piece of language in the public statement it releases afterward, according to reports, including one Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal.
The critical words are "considerable period," a phrase used to describe when the Fed will begin raising rates after the end of the monthly bond-buying program known as quantitative easing. QE, which expanded the Fed's balance sheet past the $4.5 trillion mark, ended in October.
Here's the specific language, as put forth after the October meeting:
The Committee anticipates, based on its current assessment, that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time following the end of its asset purchase program this month, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the Committee's 2 percent longer-run goal, and provided that longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored.