r960-654285e4a1d12afa977023db3e039600.jpg


Federal Reserve officials expected another increase in the central bank’s interest rate target rate “fairly soon” if the economic data remains favorable, an account from their most recent meeting released Wednesday showed.

The notes from the meeting also suggested that several officials were worried that they were in danger of driving the unemployment rate too low, risking a “buildup of inflationary pressures.”

A few others, however, worried that the Fed still might not drive inflation up to its 2 percent target. The officials were not named. Inflation has run below the Fed’s target since the spring of 2012, and was 1.6 percent in the latest reading, according to the Fed’s preferred measure.

Wednesday’s news came from the minutes from the Fed’s Jan. 31st and Feb. 1st monetary policy meeting, at which officials decided not to raise their rate target and provided few hints about their plans for the rest of the year.

Since that meeting, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen testified twice before Congress, but refrained from signaling any clear changes in the central bank’s policies. Investors and lawmakers have been eager for such hints, especially any that might be a response to President Trump’s agenda of cutting taxes, renegotiating trade deals and more.

According to Wednesday’s release, the group as a whole saw the prospect of greater government spending or tax cuts under Trump as a possible boon to the economy. Some, however, saw unspecified “downside risks” in the Trump agenda.

Some people at the meeting also chalked up higher stock market prices to the expectation of tax reform under Trump, but worried about what might happen to markets if that legislative effort doesn’t pan out. A few participants were worried about the lack of volatility in markets, given the underlying uncertainty that Trump and the congressional GOP will come through with tax cuts and other policies that would boost stocks.

Before Wednesday’s release, investors saw slim odds that the Fed would raise rates in its next meeting in mid-March and about a 50-50 chance of another 0.25 percentage point rate hike in June. After the release, investors saw even odds of a rate hike in May, one meeting earlier.

Currently, the Fed targets an overnight interest rate of 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent, up from the near-zero target it maintained for years in the wake of the financial crisis.

White House: Angry town halls the result of 'professional' protesters

Also from the Washington Examiner

“I think some people are clearly upset, but there is a bit of professional protester, manufactured base in there”

02/22/17 1:35 PM

Fed officials projected in December that they would gradually raise rates to over 2 percent by the end of 2018 as the economy continues to improve. They see rates permanently staying lower than in the past for a range of reasons, including slower economic growth and overseas weakness driving investors to U.S. bonds. Investors expect even fewer rate hikes.

In addition to ultra-low rates, the Fed during that time also massively expanded its balance sheet in an effort to fight high unemployment, buying enough government bonds and mortgage-backed securities to swell its holdings to about $4.5 trillion.

As the unemployment rate has returned to near what policymakers think is normal, at 4.8 percent in January, some Fed officials have begun raising the question of whether it should begin allowing the balance sheet to shrink.

Wednesday’s minutes contained little new context about the Fed’s thinking about its balance sheet, other than to mention an “anticipated gradual reduction” in the Fed’s holdings at some unspecified point in the future.

Trump promises a healthcare reform plan by mid-March

Also from the Washington Examiner

Trump promised to deliver “tremendous” fixes to a federal budget he described as a “mess.”

02/22/17 1:21 PM

White House: Angry town halls the result of 'professional' protesters

Top Story

“I think some people are clearly upset, but there is a bit of professional protester, manufactured base in there”

02/22/17 1:35 PM



Source link

About the Author:

Leave a Reply