John M. Bland, MBA
No Fed Policy Change; New Chair Named As widely expected, the U.S. Federal Reserve kept policy steady at its November 1 meeting. Since instituting quarterly press conferences mid-month in March, June, September and December, all but those special meetings have informally eliminated as dates for policy changes. It is now generally accepted that the central bank would prefer an opportunity to explain itself when major policy decisions have been made. Of course policy changes can be executed at non-press conference meetings, that has not happened yet. On the other hand, for several months now, a 25bp rate hike has been priced in (788% odds)for December 13.
In the November press release, the FOMC was more upbeat about recent economic developments. Recent data continue to suggest the economy is on a solid growth path. On the other hand, concerns about low inflation persists. The Fed said that economic conditions are likely to “warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate”. In other words, the FOMC was implicitly acknowledging that its inflation targets are probably flawed. Any person in the street would observe that there is little relationship between their cost of living and those measured by government statistics. There is little doubt that the Fed is on track to raise the Fed Funds target from 1.00-1.25% to 1.25%-1.50% at that meeting. Only an unexpected significant deterioration in economic data would halt this process. Friday’s October employment release was hurricane distorted but suggested that the economy continues to grow solidly.
On Thursday, it was confirmed that Jerome Powell would replace Janet Yellen as Fed Chair. Yellen was not replaced because of her excellent performance in the job at a particularly difficult time. In fact Powell was seen as likely to favor a monetary policy in the mold of Yellen. It was more a question of her regulatory bias for the baking system that did her in with the new U.S. President. Some worry about the lack of training in economics for Powell as concern in the job in these uncharted times.
Bank Of England Rate Hike On Thursday November 2, the BOE hiked interest rates from a near-zero level by 25bps (0.25% to 0.50%). The markets dubbed this a “dovish” rate hike because forward guidance was only for two additional hikes through 2020. The policy move was as expected. The vote tally indicated that seven of the MPC members supported the move. This was slightly more than had been generally expected.
Official forecasts showed the GDP estimate for 2017 lowered to 1.60% from 1.70%. GDP in 2018 was kept steady at 1.60% 2019 GDP was estimated at 1.70% vs.1.80. Inflation projections were generally held steady. That means it is expected to continue to run above its 2.00% target. This inflation overshoot is being blamed on the post-Brexit vote sterling decline.
Amazing Trader EVENT RISK Calendar:
Sun 5 Nov
00:00 US, CA- Clocks fall Back
Mon 6 Nov
08:00 EZ- final Service PMIs
Tue 7 Nov
Wed 8 Nov
Thu 9 Nov
Fri 10 Nov
00:00 US- Holiday (partial)
14:30 US- Prelim Univ of Mich Survey
John M. Bland, MBA