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March 29, 2006
FOMC Round Up: What The Experts Think
Some selective reactions, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:
Bernanke chose to emphasize continuity over making his own mark today... I suspect that our forecast that the FOMC will ultimately move beyond 5% is going to get a lot more crowded after today. In essence, as has occurred after practically every FOMC meeting since late 2004, the market will have to push the goalposts back by some portion of 25 BP.
-- Stephen Stanley, RBS Greenwich Capital
The threat of more hikes is given emphasis by the opening paragraph, which baldly states that the Q4 slowdown was "temporary" and that growth has "rebounded strongly", though it "appears likely to moderate". We fully expect a May hike.
-- Ian Shepherdson, High Frequency Economics
That a core PCE inflation rate of 1.8% year-over-year (and 1.9% over the past three months) is not described as low is instructive...
- Bruce Kasman, J.P. Morgan
... we continue to expect the Fed will keep raising rates, reaching 5.50% in the third quarter. The Kansas City Fed did not request a 25 basis point hike in the discount rate. We believe that this is meaningless.
-- Drew Matus, Lehman Brothers
Investors were hoping there would be some indication that the tightening cycle would be coming to an end. Their hopes were dashed.
-- Joel L. Naroff, Naroff Economic Advisors
Greg Robb and Rex Nutting at Market Watch are apparently talking to folks who are more convinced that data dependence rules:
Economists say this language gives the FOMC all the maneuvering room it needs to either hold rates at current levels or trigger another increase in May at its next scheduled meeting.
A similar view was found at the FT...
“The market now has greater conviction in its view that US interest rates will rise to 5 per cent by the summer; but the custom designed flexibility of the FOMC statement, tempered as it now is with conditionality and subjectivity, precludes any clear market insight beyond the next economic data release,” said Neil Mellor, currency strategist Bank of New York.
"The statement is a little bit different, but the gist of it is pretty much the same: they'll hike rates if they need to, they'll watch the data; inflation remains contained," said Mary Ann Hurley, vice president of fixed income trading at D.A. Davidson in Seattle.
The WSJ feature includes comments from several of our favorite bloggers -- Barry, Mark, and William, specifically -- but why not go to the sources:
Mr. Naybob says "No surprises from Benny and friends." Mark (Thoma) parses the statement. Stock Trading Update concludes that the statement "implied a continued hawkish position." The Skeptical Speculator suggests that the FOMC, like the US consumer, "remains confident," and reminds us that the Bank of England was talking yesterday as well. David K. Smith further notes that short rates in the U.S. have now risen above those in the U.K. (and asks "can the sterling survive?). Barry (Ritholtz) concludes:
In raising rates the expected 1/4 point, the Fed announced that they are likely to keep increasing short term rates for the next few meetings.
UPDATE: Barry Ritholtz examines the historical record on the real (inflation-adjusted) federal funds rate -- an eminently sensible thing to do -- and concludes "three more 1/4 point hikes." James Hamilton has reflections on the new (and I believe Jim thinks improved) fedspeak. The Capital Spectator shares some thoughts on the new chairman's trials. Tim Iacono urges you to monitor the web activities of your children.
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Learning the new Fedspeak
Curious reaction from both markets and pundits to yesterday's statement from the FOMC accompanying the decision to boost the fed funds rate another 25 basis points.... [Read More]
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