The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee statement on Wednesday explaining their reasoning not to raise rates was intentionally vague.
The goal (as best we understand it) is to be transparent, but not too transparent. This wide berth makes it so the Fed doesn’t look wrong by making precise forecasts or spook markets (too much).
Despite this, one chart from Deutsche Bank Chief US Economist Joe LaVorgna lays out that the Fed is wrong on one thing.
In Wednesday’s statement, the FOMC stated: “Households’ real income has risen at a solid rate, and consumer sentiment remains high.”
Eh, not so much.
This was a change from the previous meeting’s message in March, and by now including this it would indicate it is a new or significant trend the Fed sees (again, as best we understand it since we can’t get inside the members’ heads).
The issue is both real personal disposable income and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment index have fallen. Two qualifiers here, the Fed has used the terminology before and, yes, both measures are higher than in years past.
The issue is adding that line into the statement at this point is a little iffy. For instance, the only time consumer sentiment was mentioned in a statement was April 2015 based on our search of the past two years of statements, when the measure was much higher.
“The intra-meeting data and revisions were not as positive as the Fed suggests,” said a note from the chart by LaVorgna.
Essentially, the Fed is trying to play up data that actually isn’t as hot as they make it seem.