Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve continued to trim its QE program, reducing the scheme by $10 billion, to $35 billion/month. If all goes as planned, the Fed could wind up QE in the fall. The Fed also hinted that interest rates will continue to stay low for the foreseeable future, which likely means that we won’t see any rate hikes before the first quarter of 2015. With regard to economic activity, the Fed noted that the recovery is continuing, but it reduced its forecast of economic growth to 2.1-2.3%, down from an earlier forecast of around 2.9 percent. The bottom line? There were no dramatic items in the Fed statement, with one analyst describing current Fed policy as “steady as she goes”.On the inflation front, CPI moved up modestly, posting a gain of 0.3%. This was the strongest gain we’ve seen since January 2013. CPI followed suit, climbing to an eleven-month high. The index rose to 0.4%, beating the estimate of 0.2%. The Fed policy statement took note of the weak inflation levels, which are nowhere near the Fed’s target of 2%.