FOMC Preview

July 25, 2017

The Federal Open Market Committee began a two-day policy review today and will release a statement at 18:00 GMT (14:00 EDT) on Wednesday, July 26 announcing and defending its conclusions. This is the fifth scheduled meeting of 2017. There were previous 25-basis point hikes in the federal funds target range (now 1.00-1.25%) in March and June, as well as two initial such moves at the final meetings of 2015 and 2016. Policy settings are not expected to be changed at this meeting. The last time the FOMC raised its interest rate at consecutive scheduled meetings occurred in 2006. Moreover, a press conference is not scheduled to follow tomorrow’s announcement. All four prior rate hikes in this cycle were made at meetings in which a press conference had been scheduled.

The most important reason not to expect an interest rate hike now is that inflation this year has been decelerating rather than accelerating as Fed officials assumed. The total and core 12-month increases in the personal consumption price deflator were each 1.4% in May, that is closer to 1% than ┬áthe target of 2% and down from 2.1% and 1.8%, respectively, in February. Chair Yellen’s semi-annual testimony earlier this month to Congress suggested that the recent slowdown of inflation is being viewed with somewhat more concern than when the committee met six weeks ago.

Since the June meeting, the dollar has fallen a bit more than 4.0% against the euro, lost ground in trade-weighted terms as well, but changed on net hardly at all versus the yen. The price of oil has risen 7% but only reversed a decline between the May and June meetings. Likewise, the 10-year Treasury yield is higher now than when the FOMC met in mid-June but only on a par with its level at the meeting in early May. These moves and a 1% rise of the DJIA are not going to influence the FOMC decision this month.

Things to watch for in Wednesday’s statement are

  1. Whether the slowdown of inflation is dismissed as transitory.
  2. Whether officials express concern that prolonged sub-target inflation might depress expected inflation.
  3. Whether the views on the labor market and components of aggregate demand have changed in any way.
  4. And whether anything specific is conveyed about plans to trim down the Fed’s $4.5 trillion balance sheet. Markets have been instructed previously to expect news on that matter by September.
EUR/$ $/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

10/28/15

1.1334

1.1081

120.86

120.50

2.26

2.07

16778

17687

47.01

45.83

12/16/15

01/27/16

03/16/16

04/27/16

06/14/16

07/27/16

09/21/16

11/02/16

12/14/16

02/01/17

03/15/17

05/03/17

06/14/17

07/25/17

1.0956

1.0874

1.1089

1.1339

1.1205

1.0998

1.1160

1.1099

1.0641

1.0741

1.0638

1.0910

1.1149

1.1648

 

121.72

118.48

113.70

111.37

106.15

105.65

100.84

103.33

115.37

113.52

114.48

112.47

111.55

111.87

 

2.29

2.02

1.99

1.89

1.62

1.53

1.70

1.78

2.45

2.49

2.57

2.30

2.13

2.32

 

17583

16002

17217

18013

17675

18461

18151

17989

19915

19890

20885

20920

21375

21613

35.95

30.85

37.79

44.89

48.29

41.91

43.44

45.18

51.83

53.33

48.43

47.96

44.71

47.87

 

On June 14 when the fed funds rate was lifted to its current level, the following statement was released, explaining the move, and that statement was accompanied by updated forecasts on growth, unemployment, inflation, and the likely path of policy interest rates.

Copyright 2017, Larry Greenberg. All rights reserved. No secondary distribution without express permission.

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