FOMC Preview: No Chance of a Federal Funds Hike

October 27, 2015

Weaker-than-expected U.S. growth and inflation since the mid-September meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, plus greater disparity in public comments from Fed officials with some coming out in favor of no rate change before 2016, has all but eliminated any chance of a rate hike tomorrow.  The announcement will occur at 14:00 EDT (18:00 GMT), and no press conference is scheduled for afterward.  Yet tomorrow does mark an important change, removing any ambiguity in subsequent Fed official remarks endorsing a first tightening this year.  There is only one meeting left in 2015, the one scheduled for December.  This will be as close to a pre-announcement as there is and put Fed officials in a position that no central bankers like to be.  To avoid getting cornered, it’s highly possible that the language of the released statement will be modified to introduce some additional ambiguity in the timing of the next meeting.  Transparency hasn’t been nearly as constructive as Fed officials hoped.  Wiggle room is needed.

The table below of vital market signs at the time of prior FOMC statement releases shows that the 10-year Treasury yield is trading below its level at the three prior meetings and that the last FOMC meeting in which oil was as low as now occurred 7-1/2 months ago.  The dollar is 2.7% stronger against the euro and 0.4% softer against the yen than at the time of the September 17th FOMC statement’s release.  However, monetary officials are not looking just at these major relationships.  Strong dollar gains against a slew of emerging market currencies and commodity-sensitive currencies are depressing U.S. import prices and overall U.S. inflation, implying a later return to in-target price stability and giving officials pause in their confidence that inflation is going to rise to target eventually.

EUR/$ $/JPY 10Y, % DJIA Oil, $
06/30/04 1.2173 109.44 4.63 10396 37.95
06/30/05 1.2090 110.89 3.96 10370 57.00
06/29/06 1.2527 116.07 5.20 11077 73.41
06/28/07 1.3452 123.17 5.10 13456 69.82
08/07/07 1.3749 118.55 4.73 13510 72.27
09/18/07 1.3888 115.75 4.51 13475 81.42
10/31/07 1.4458 115.28 4.42 13873 93.59
12/11/07 1.4682 111.49 4.11 13645 89.78
01/30/08 1.4792 107.31 3.70 12454 91.70
03/18/08 1.5786 98.73 3.41 12257 107.53
04/30/08 1.5562 104.58 3.83 12953 111.54
06/25/08 1.5568 108.37 4.18 11837 133.62
08/05/08 1.5445 108.42 3.97 11484 119.82
09/16/08 1.4144 105.16 3.36 10936 91.18
10/08/08 1.3625 99.87 3.50 9447 87.02
10/29/08 1.2933 97.15 3.81 9145 67.38
12/16/08 1.3790 90.14 2.52 8687 44.14
01/28/09 1.3253 90.01 2.61 8356 42.92
03/18/09 1.3115 98.13 2.94 7340 47.73
04/29/09 1.3331 97.06 3.02 8194 51.05
06/24/09 1.3984 95.43 3.59 8373 68.76
08/12/09 1.4221 96.17 3.71 9366 70.64
09/23/09 1.4779 91.50 3.50 9859 69.13
11/04/09 1.4884 90.75 3.51 9896 80.66
12/16/09 1.4542 89.78 3.56 10478 73.14
01/27/10 1.4045 89.49 3.61 10148 73.31
03/16/10 1.3756 90.64 3.67 10645 81.45
04/28/10 1.3157 94.10 3.75 11043 82.57
06/23/10 1.2284 90.12 3.13 10307 76.50
08/10/10 1.3107 85.85 2.81 10605 79.94
09/21/10 1.3132 85.21 2.66 10747 73.05
11/03/10 1.4059 81.35 2.53 11174 84.59
12/14/10 1.3423 83.37 3.38 11497 88.47
01/26/11 1.3658 82.55 3.41 12001 87.36
03/15/11 1.3969 81.04 3.29 11815 98.09
04/27/11 1.4665 82.63 3.36 12612 112.48
06/22/11 1.4392 80.12 2.97 12175 94.87
08/09/11 1.4234 77.09 2.36 10993 81.76
09/21/11 1.3778 76.34 1.93 11377 86.74
11/02/11 1.3724 78.11 2.03 11805 92.77
12/13/11 1.3067 77.92 1.98 12130 100.20
01/25/12 1.3027 77.96 1.97 12670 98.85
03/13/12 1.3096 82.76 2.08 13044 106.34
04/25/12 1.3226 81.37 1.97 13096 104.13
06/20/12 1.2693 79.28 1.66 12837 83.63
08/01/12 1.2300 78.10 1.49 13028 88.98
09/13/12 1.2895 77.43 1.72 13342 97.60
10/24/12 1.2948 79.75 1.77 13115 85.72
12/12/12 1.3082 83.24 1.70 13325 87.13
01/30/13 1.3584 91.16 2.02 13949 97.63
03/20/13 1.2948 95.65 1.94 14497 92.82
05/01/13 1.3195 97.48 1.62 14740 90.47
06/19/13 1.3364 95.76 2.23 15304 98.38
07/31/13 1.3301 97.92 2.67 15565 105.63
09/18/13 1.3363 98.28 2.76 15606 107.01
10/30/13 1.3764 98.18 2.48 15660 97.42
12/18/13 1.3696 103.81 2.89 16198 98.06
01/29/14 1.3651 102.13 2.73 15719 97.23
03/19/14 1.3918 101.75 2.71 16335 99.96
04/30/14 1.3868 102.11 2.66 16553 99.52
06/18/14 1.3584 101.93 2.61 16892 106.12
07/30/14 1.3372 102.84 2.51 16878 101.45
08/17/14 1.2961 107.60 2.57 17151 94.05
10/29/14 1.2677 108.40 2.33 16956 82.51
12/17/14 1.2409 117.58 2.11 17201 57.85
01/28/15 1.1337 117.77 1.78 17457 44.75
03/18/15 1.0637 120.98 2.05 17733 42.49
04/29/15 1.1164 118.67 2.05 18039 59.16
06/17/15 1.1255 124.22 2.39 17862 59.12
07/29/15 1.1073 123.61 2.29 17720 49.17
09/17/15

10/27/15

1.1334

1.1037

120.86

120.38

2.26

2.03

16778

17582

47.01

43.16

Copyright 2015, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

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