The Federal Reserve is expected to keep interest rates in a range of 0.25% to 0.50% in its latest policy statement, which will be out on Wednesday.
So, there’s not a whole lot of excitement ahead of the announcement, which won’t be accompanied by a press conference from Fed Chair Janet Yellen.
In fact, most economists already have their eyes set on the June 15 meeting, which could possibly see a change in benchmark policy.
But there is one notable development since the FOMC’s last meeting: oil prices have started to recover again.
WTI Crude prices are up 21.1% from March 16, when they were about $36.34 per barrel. As of 3:19 p.m. ET, WTI is trading 3.2% up at $44.02 per barrel.
In a note to clients, Capital Economics’ Julian Jessop wrote that oil’s recovery should speed up the end of the drag on US business investment in the mining and energy sector. Plus, he continued, US and global stocks have already responded well.
“What’s more, while US inflation expectations have lagged a little behind the recovery in the oil price, they are now heading higher again too,” he added, which you can see in the chart below.
As for what this means in the larger scheme of things, Jessop argues:
“This all supports our view that the Fed will leave the door open for a hike in June, even though it is almost certain to keep rates on hold on Wednesday. Indeed, both core CPI and PCE inflation has already increased markedly in recent months. That leaves the Fed with a lot less scope to delay rate hikes this year, even if other global downside risks emerge.”
Although, of course, there are plenty of other factors influencing the Fed’s decision, too.
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