Fed Holds Rates Steady
As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee decided today to maintain its target federal funds rate at between 0.25 and 0.50 percent. Another rate hike is expected at the earliest at the June FOMC meeting, with the August meeting being a more likely candidate for a rate hike. Language in the FOMC statement was largely unchanged, with the exception of noting that economic growth has slowed, the labor market has improved, and household spending has moderated. The FOMC also removed language referring to inflation picking up, which would lead us to believe that they still think the rate of increase in inflation is, in their eyes, sub-optimal or slowing. The FOMC also removed language about global economic developments posing risks, instead stating that the Committee would continue to closely monitor global economic and financial developments. Kansas City Fed President Esther George dissented from the FOMC’s decision yet again, favoring an increase in the target federal funds rate to 0.50 to 0.75 percent. We wouldn’t expect much market reaction to today’s announcement, as it was already expected and should have been priced in. Expect more reaction to the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy announcement tomorrow.