Janet Yellen Just Confirmed The One Thing Everybody Thinks About Her

Janet yellen new york stock exchange traderREUTERS/Brendan McDermidA screen displays a news conference by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as a trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange March 19, 2014.

Janet Yellen is a dove.

That seems like the most obvious sentence in the world. After all, if there’s one thing that people know about Janet Yellen is that she’s considered to be dovish. What that means is, she’s not overly concerned about the economy overheating, and not inclined to tighten policy early.

And that’s the big takeaway from today’s FOMC events. At every opportunity, Yellen & Co. took the dovish turn.

First, the context. Unemployment has been falling rapidly, and inflation has begun to tick up. And in England, Mark Carney just suggested that the Bank of England could increase interest rates sooner than expected.

So naturally, everyone was wondering whether the Fed would take stock of the improving economy, and give a hint similar to Carney’s.

But there was no hint.

To start, there was no policy change. The pace of tapering QE purchases will continue at the exact same pace.

And there was very little change to the risk outlook. The official statement didn’t have any clues that the improving data might lead to a sooner rate hike.

Then at the press conference, Janet Yellen continued to hit dovish notes.

She used the word “noise” to describe the hot CPI number that we get yesterday, signaling a lack of worry about prices picking up.

And when the question turned to unemployment, she expressed scepticism that the official, headline unemployment rate (6.3%) was an adequate reflection of labour market tightness.

She stated she believes that a lot of the decline in the participation rate is a function of the weak economy, and so therefore there are a lot of shadow unemployed workers who may come back to the labour market as things improving.

Stocks are at their highs of the day, as markets recognise what the Fed is saying: There’s no nervousness about the improving data, and there’s no rush to tighten rates anytime soon.

Janet Yellen is a dove.

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