Don't Even Try To Guess What The Fed Will Say Tomorrow Until At Least 8:30 AM ET

ben bernanke countdown clockU.S. Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke listens to questions as he testifies before a House Budget Committee hearing on ‘The Near-Term Outlook for the U.S. Economy’ on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 17, 2008.

The Federal Reserve will wrap up its two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Wednesday.  That’s when we’ll get their latest FOMC statement, which will update us on the direction of monetary policy.

For the most part economists don’t expect much news.  The Fed is expected to keep it benchmark interest rate target unchanged at near-zero.

Since May, all of the talk has been about when the Fed would begin to taper, or gradually reduce, its monthly purchases of $85 billion worth of Treasury and mortgage bonds.

But economists don’t believe that will begin tomorrow.

“Even uber-hawk Charles Plosser has called a first move in September, and if he doesn’t advocate a July move, it’s hard to see anyone in the leadership doing so,” said JP Morgan’s Michael Feroli.

So, if there’s anything new, it’ll be in the form of tweaks to the language in the Fed’s statement.

And we can’t begin to guess what those tweaks will look like until 8:30 a.m. ET tomorrow.

[T]here will obviously need to be some changes here to reflect the Q2 GDP report, reported only 5-1/2 hours before the statement is released (though the Fed will likely get most of the report the prior afternoon),” said Feroli. “If we are right that growth last quarter prints with a zero-handle, the statement will need to reflect this without sounding too downbeat, e.g. through appeals to transitory fiscal drags, etc.”

“We don’t necessarily think a zero-handle would spook the Fed too much or get them to backtrack on taper talk. When Bernanke last spoke before Congress, he probably had a good sense that Q2 would look pretty lame, and yet he did not walk back the taper timeline. Although the Chairman raised some deflation concerns in the inter-meeting period, we believe the incoming data has been such that there will be little change in the statement’s description of the inflation situation.”

We’ll cover the GDP release and FOMC statements live at

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