Ben Bernanke invented the practice of giving an occasional press conference after an FOMC decision as a way to further explain monetary policy decisions. Indeed, one of Bernanke’s legacies has been his commitment to transparency and better Fed communication (for better or worse).
Anyway, tomorrow is his last ever scheduled press conference, though not his last ever meeting at the helm, which will be in January.
Here’s Mike O’Rourke of JonesTrading:
Although tomorrow is not Chairman Bernanke’s last FOMC meeting, it is his final scheduled press conference. As we have noted several times since the FOMC’s September surprise, if the Fed remains consistent in its interpretation of the data, there will be no action tomorrow. The large risk to our view is that the Fed has been anything but consistent in its interpretation of data. That being said, that does not mean there is not room for some interesting action. Considering taper versus non-taper have been such “close calls” at the last few meetings and this is the Chairman’s final press conference, it is fair to expect the chairman to lay out the “Exit” or more appropriately “No More Entry” strategy tomorrow. The last time the Chairman did this was the June 19th FOMC meeting when among other things he cited the 7% Unemployment Rate would be where purchases would likely end. Obviously, the Chairman subsequently backed off that guidance and the Unemployment Rate is at 7% now. The difference between tomorrow and the June meeting is whatever the Chairman lays out tomorrow should be imminent (next couple meetings) policy.