The Federal Reserve sent out mixed messages after its November FOMC meeting leaving markets wondering just how much more the central bank will tighten monetary policy.
As expected, the Fed delivered another 75 basis point rate hike, pushing the Fed funds rate to between 3.75 and 4%. The last time interest rates were this high was in January 2008.
During his post- FOMC meeting press conference, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said, “Hope for the best; plan for the worst.”
I think he meant, “Live in hope; die in despair.”
The Federal Reserve delivered another 75 basis point interest rate hike at its July FOMC meeting. This pushes the federal funds rate over the 2% threshold to between 2.25% and 2.5%.
The mainstream media emphasized the size of the hike. One headline called it “a second super-sized hike,” with many other mainstream pundits noting that it matched a June hike was the biggest since 1994. But it wasn’t as big as the full 1% hike everybody thought was on the table after we got June’s flaming hot Consumer Price Index (CPI) data.
Here’s the question: has the Fed reached the end of its rope? Will this be the last hike in this cycle?
After the June FOMC meeting and the Fed’s 75- basis point interest rate hike, I argued that the central bank is totally winging it. Reading between the lines in the minutes from that June meeting seems to bear this out. The Fed appears to be in reaction mode. The question becomes what will it react to next? How long will the hawks keep flying as the economy tanks?
The Federal Reserve came through with the second rate hike of this tightening cycle, bumping up the Fed Funds rate by 0.5%. It was the biggest interest rate boost by the Fed since 2000. But given the extent of the inflation fight, this hardly seems like a bold, aggressive move. In fact, it was a weak swing that looks more like shadow boxing. And one has to wonder just how long the Fed can stay in the ring.
The Federal Reserve released the minutes from the December FOMC meeting on Thursday (Jan. 5) and the markets freaked once again at the prospect of monetary tightening. The minutes seem to indicate an even more abrupt shift to tighter monetary policy to fight inflation. But I have questions.
The Federal Reserve wrapped up its June meeting this week. The markets are convinced Jerome Powell has gone hawkish. Has he though? In this episode of the Friday Gold Wrap podcast, host Mike Maharrey talks about the messaging coming out of the FOMC meeting and reaches a completely different conclusion. He also compares and contrasts three competing narratives about the trajectory of Fed monetary policy.
The Federal Reserve wrapped up its June meeting. While the central bank didn’t raise rates, the messaging coming out of the FOMC was widely viewed as hawkish. But was it really?
We don’t think so. In fact, the Fed’s messaging was extremely dovish. And the fact that it continues to ignore inflation doesn’t bode well for the future.