Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:
Here Comes The Fed. The Federal Reserve’s two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting ends at 2 p.m. ET today, at which point the Fed will publish its monetary policy statement and its summary of economic projections. Economists broadly expect the Fed to announce a further $US10 billion tapering of its monthly asset purchase program. The Fed’s also expected to keep its benchmark short-term interest rate target at near-zero.
Tweaks To The Forecast. Since the last FOMC meeting, the economic data has indicated that the inflation has picked up as the labour market continued to improve. Meanwhile, GDP growth was much slower than expected in Q1. In a column for Business Insider, Allianz’s Mohamed El-Erian writes that “The statements’ summary of the collective view of the FOMC … is likely to reflect some softening in the shorter term growth projections but no material change to longer-term expectations.”
The Dots And The Presser. “What does matter is any shift in tone at the press conference (three new members join the FOMC), and the picture painted by the infamous “point” forecasts,” said UBS’s Paul Donovan. All of this relates to the timing of monetary policy tightening, or when the Fed will begin to raise interest rates.
Carney-Style Carnage? Last week in his monetary policy statement, the Bank of England’s Mark Carney said, “There’s already great speculation about the exact timing of the first rate hike and this decision is becoming more balanced. It could happen sooner than markets currently expect.” Some experts like Citi’s Steven Englander warn that given the current signals in the currency markets, should the Fed’s Yellen adopt a similar tone, “the word ‘carnage’ would not be inappropriate.” In other words, we could see major moves in the currency markets.
The Amazon Phone. “On Wednesday, Amazon will announce one of its biggest, riskiest new products ever: A smartphone,” reports Business Insider’s Jillian D’Onfro. “While Amazon hasn’t come out and officially said it’s releasing a phone, we’re 99.99% certain it’s happening. Amazon released a teaser video last week for the event, and if you look closely, you can see a phone in the video.”
Japanese Exports Fall. Japan’s exports fell 2.7% year-over-year in May, which was worse than the 1.3% decline expected by economists. This was the first decline in 15 months.
Chinese Home Prices Fall. Prices for new homes fell in 35 of 70 Chinese cities, reports Bloomberg. This comes amid slowing growth and elevated concerns about the health of China’s financial markets.
Markets Are Up. The world’s stock markets are in the green ahead of today’s FOMC announcement. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 is up 0.4%, Germany’s DAX is up 0.1%, and Spain’s IBEX is up 0.3%. Japan’s Nikkei closed up 0.9%. U.S. stock market futures are marginally higher.
GM CEO Heads To The Hill Again. Mary Barra will get grilled by Congress today over the handling of safety concerns, which have led to the recall of over 20 million autos since the beginning of the year.
The World’s Most Expensive One Cent Stamp. “An incredibly rare 19th century postage stamp, a tiny one-cent magenta from British colonial Guyana, sold for $US9.5 million in New York on Tuesday, setting a new world record,” reported the AFP’s Jennie Matthew. “Bidding began at $US4.5 million and it took just two minutes to sell the stamp to an anonymous bidder on the phone, although the auction house Sotheby’s had valued the tiny specimen of British colonial memorabilia at $US10-20 million.”
BONUS: Barclays’ Latin America research team believe politicians may take advantage of the ongoing World Cup in an unexpected way.
“The distraction of public opinion with the World Cup might be an opportunity for some governments to pass measures that face some resistance,” they write. “In Mexico, the World Cup has been taken as an excuse by some Congressmen to delay the discussion of the secondary laws for the energy and telecommunications reforms … Venezuela is not and has never been in the World Cup, but for Venezuelans, any excuse is good to celebrate. We think that the government could take advantage of public opinion being distracted and students being on vacation from their universities to announce some of the adjustments that they have been delaying.”
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