The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee is set to announce the results of its latest two-day monetary policy meeting Wednesday afternoon at 2 pm ET.
Economists expect the FOMC to take another $US10 billion off its monthly asset purchases, or quantitative easing program.
At its June meeting, the Fed signaled that if the economic recovery proceeds as the central bank expects, it would conclude QE with its October meeting.
Wednesday’s meeting is largely expected to come and go without incident, with the Fed expected to keep interest rates between 0%-0.25% and continue with its taper, as Fed Chair Janet Yellen is not scheduled to hold a press conference after this meeting.
And this morning’s better than expected GDP report won’t cause the Fed to make any significant moves with Wednesday’s announcement.
Following the GDP report, Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi wrote that, “Growth is back, and [the Fed] expected it to bounce back, so that means another $US10 billion cut in their QE purchases. The steady as she goes economy means a steady as she goes Fed policy. Nothing here for the Fed to speed up its exist, at least in today’s policy statement… Maybe Yellen will have more for us at Jackson Hole.”
Without a press conference offer more insight into the Fed’s thinking, Bill McBride at Calculated Risk said there will likely be a heightened focus on the language in the Fed’s statement on Wednesday.
McBride cited Goldman Sachs economist David Mericle who wrote that:
“We expect that next week’s FOMC statement will show very little change. The FOMC might choose to upgrade the language on growth in economic activity somewhat, and it might also strengthen the language on labour market indicators a touch in recognition of the strong June employment report.”
And as the Fed approaches the end of its QE program, Fed watchers are looking for a signal on when the central bank will raise interest rates, and if more members of the FOMC will begin agitating for change.
Michael Hanson and Ethan Harris at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, however, write that more dissent from FOMC members at this meeting would not be a useful signal for determining the Fed’s next move.
Hanson and Harris expect that the Fed’s statement will acknowledge some of the better economic data since the last meeting, but they expect, “no meaningful change in the policy language.”
Despite expecting language that is no more hawkish in the Fed’s July statement, Hanson and Harris say that, generally, “The risk is that markets seize on any language that could be (mis)interpreted as hawkish at any of the next several FOMC meeting, given market sentiment and positioning.”
In September, Chair Yellen will hold a press conference following the FOMC’s statement and the Fed will also release its latest summary of economic projections.
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