FOMC Preview

September 16, 2020

This week’s review of Fed policy is not expected change its settings for interest rates or unconventional stimulus such as asset purchases. This was the last scheduled meeting before the November election. To avoid appearing partisan, the central bank avoids, if at all possible, policy changes this close to a presidential election but as in 1980 when matched sales were done a day after the election will not hesitate to act right after that event has passed.

Quarterly updates of the Fed’s forecasts of growth, unemployment, inflation and individuals’ own interest rate preferred paths will be unveiled at 14:00 EDT along with the policy statement. Three months ago, officials predicted that in 2020, GDP would drop 6.5%. Unemployment was expected to still exceed 9.0% late this year, and inflation was revised lower to 0.8%. It’s likely that today’s growth projection will be less negative than then, and unemployment already has declined to 8.4%. No rise in the federal funds rate was seen as warranted before 2023.

The biggest policy signal from the Fed since the late July meeting is that the 2% inflation target now involves an average level, meaning that inflation above 2.0% not only would be tolerated but in fact welcomed following an extended period, such as experience these past several years, of inflation running below that level. In the absence of full employment, drops in the jobless rate in the absence of accelerating and above-target inflation will not automatically predispose the Fed to raising interest rates.

Almost equally significant, the fiscal support package for which Fed officials had been clamoring increasingly was not passed. Monetary policy’s capacity to provide relief for economic damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has diminished greatly. Fiscal policy needs to pick up the slack, but hasn’t. Even if President Trump loses the election, the Republicans can be counted on to lean against the fiscal wind. It would take a Democratic landslide to set the table for adequate fiscal stimulus in 2021.

In comparison to market readings when the July 29th statement was released, the dollar is now little changed against the euro, yen or gold despite depreciation in the most recent weeks. The 10-year Treasury yield has risen 8 basis points, and the Dow Jones Industrials Average has rebounded 6.0%. The price of WTI has dropped 4.1%.

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

09/20/17

11/01/17

12/13/17

01/31/18

03/21/18

05/02/18

06/13/18

08/01/18

09/26/18

11/08/18

12/19/18

01/30/19

03/20/19

05/01/19

06/19/19

07/31/19

09/18/19

10/30/19

12/11/19

01/29/20

03/03/20

03/15/20

03/23/20

04/29/20

06/10/20

07/29/20

09/16/20

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

1.1735

1.2010

1.1631

1.1815

1.2424

1.2271

1.1963

1.1788

1.1668

1.1765

1.1400

1.1420

1.1415

1.1355

1.1244

1.1217

1.1132

1.1066

1.1117

1.1112

1.1002

1.1179

1.1087

1.0697

1.0859

1.1367

1.1787

1.1826

 

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

111.17

111.34

113.91

112.58

109.31

106.27

109.91

110.38

111.69

112.94

113.88

112.26

109.55

111.42

111.17

108.36

108.59

108.16

108.89

108.62

109.14

107.21

108.33

111.26

106.73

107.24

104.84

104.87

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

2.29

2.24

2.35

2.34

2.73

2.89

2.97

2.96

2.99

3.08

3.23

2.81

2.72

2.57

2.48

2.08

2.02

1.75

1.80

1.80

1.61

1.01

1.01

0.81

0.61

0.77

0.59

0.67

17583

16002

17217

18013

17675

18461

18151

17989

19915

19890

20885

20920

21375

21711

22376

23405

24585

26259

24839

24095

25309

25310

26543

26195

23881

24841

25727

26624

26452

27210

27048

27067

27877

28833

25917

23185

18592

24667

27169

26467

28062

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

48.75

50.55

54.24

56.60

64.41

65.00

67.57

66.77

67.62

71.68

60.93

47.80

54.51

59.48

63.38

53.65

58.48

58.16

54.60

58.68

53.52

47.18

31.73

23.36

15.30

39.05

41.22

39.55

Copyright 2020, Larry Greenberg. All rights reserved. No secondary distribution without express permission. 

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