With the effective fed funds rate now only slightly below the range of estimates for neutral monetary policy and few signs of economic or financial market overheating, we believe that the Federal Reserve is likely to hold rates steady in March, interrupting its pattern of quarterly interest rate hikes.
Tighter financial conditions and slower global growth have weakened arguments that U.S. monetary policy will be restrictive in the coming years to alleviate the risk of economic overheating or growing financial imbalances.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech on 28 November helped stir a market rally as investors interpreted his comments as more dovish and favorable to risk assets.
Core U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rebounded in October, though not as much as expected, driven largely by a bounce in used car prices. The year-over-year rate ticked down to 2.1%, and evidence of tariff-related price increases was mixed.
The Federal Reserve’s September statement, projections and press conference were in line with our expectations and support our view that the Fed will continue on a gradual trajectory of interest rate hikes.
Will the Federal Reserve take a hawkish turn at its next meeting ending on 26 September? There are signs it may. Although we expect the Fed to hike rates by 25 basis points, to 2.0% to 2.25%, that’s not our concern.
U.S. core Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation lagged expectations in August, breaking from the recent trend of generally upward surprises from various wage and price reports.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s remarks at the annual Jackson Hole Symposium emphasized several important uncertainties about the structural aspects in the U.S. economy that greatly complicate the central bankers’ medium-term job of setting monetary policy.
U.S. consumer prices rose more than expected in July, reinforcing our view that the Fed will continue its gradual pace of interest rate hikes, at least for now.
Even before President Trump’s inauguration, we at PIMCO had identified trade policy as a potential spoiler to the otherwise pro-growth nature of the president’s economic agenda. And the unfolding of this “summer of discontent” has only affirmed our view heading into 2018 that trade policy remains one of the biggest policy risks for markets and the economy this year.
The Federal Reserve held interest rates steady and released a statement on 1 August that made only minor changes to reflect the more upbeat U.S. economy since the Fed’s June meeting. Despite the lack of surprises, however, we don’t think investors should write off the meeting just yet: The more interesting aspect may well come later ‒ when the meeting minutes are revealed in a few weeks.
The Federal Reserve’s decision today to hike its policy rate by 25 basis points (bps) to a range of 1.75% to 2.0% was widely expected. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) also signaled growing consensus that the robust pace of economic activity warrants two more rate hikes this year, for a total of four in 2018.
U.S. core Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation was softer than consensus expectations in April, and the year-over-year rate remained stable at 2.1%. We see a couple of reasons for that, and continue to expect core CPI inflation to accelerate further (to 2.3%–2.4%) before settling back to 2.2% by year-end.
How sensitive is the U.S. economy to rising oil prices? A popular view is that growing U.S. energy output has largely immunized the economy against the adverse effects of pricier oil.
With little in the recent economic data to warrant a change in the U.S. outlook and bond markets that were largely aligned with the Federal Reserve’s 2018 rate hike projections, today’s statement from the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) needed only to reaffirm the messages conveyed at the March meeting.
The acceleration in U.S. core Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation in March was in line with expectations, and likely a welcome development for Federal Reserve officials after a surprising string of soft inflation prints last year.
The minutes of the March 2018 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting affirmed our outlook that the Fed will likely continue to gradually and methodically increase interest rates and that the bar is relatively high for policymakers to change the current plan for two or three more hikes in 2018.
Consistent with our view last month that the Trump administration’s more significant (and market-moving) trade actions had yet to come, the recent announcement of tariffs on Chinese products related to the Section 301 intellectual property investigation has roiled markets and increased uncertainty over the possibility of a trade war.
The U.S. Federal Reserve’s announcement of another 25 basis point hike in the fed funds rate range to 1.5% to 1.75% was widely expected by us and by markets. The more interesting aspect of the March FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting is the change to central bank officials’ forecasts.
We believe the trade actions with the most significant potential economic and market impact have yet to unfold.
We saw little to surprise in February’s U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation print: Core CPI (excluding food and energy prices) gained 0.18% month-over-month, a moderation from January’s 0.34% gain, and held steady at 1.8% year-over-year.
U.S. inflation continued to accelerate in January, with a 0.349% month-over-month advance in core Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation (which excludes food and energy prices) – the strongest gain since 2001.
The U.S. economic numbers released last week preceded a slide in equities, prompting keen interest in what the data may have been signaling to markets.
Core U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rose 0.22% month-over-month in October, broadly in line with expectations for firming price trends but notably stronger than the 0.14% average monthly pace this year.
Despite a hurricane-related surge in headline inflation, core inflation continued to run softer than expected in September, a trend that could make the Federal Reserve more cautious about hiking interest rates in December.
As many observers expected, after five months of surprisingly soft inflation prints, prices firmed in August. U.S. core CPI inflation (which excludes the volatile food and energy categories) was up 0.25%, boosted by the largest-ever one-month increase in hotel prices and surprising firmness in rents and owners’ equivalent rents (OER).
Another underwhelming rise in the U.S. core Consumer Price Index (CPI) reported on Friday increases the chances that Federal Reserve policymakers use the September meeting to signal they plan to abstain from additional interest rate hikes until next year.
A growing number of Federal Open Market Committee officials have voiced concerns over decelerating inflation since the June FOMC meeting, and the latest inflation print likely did little to alleviate them.
Another soft U.S. core Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation report – the third in a row that has lagged expectations – could complicate the Fed’s intentions to raise rates one more time this year, as the central bank’s Summary of Economic Projections currently forecasts.
Unlike in March, April’s soft inflation across a range of core goods and services prices cannot be explained away by large, one-off price adjustments or other quirks in the data.
Today’s U.S. labor market report solidified market expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise the fed funds rate by 25 basis points at its two-day meeting next week.
The 15 December Consumer Price Index (CPI) release was more or less in line with expectations, but it did show a moderate deceleration in inflation from recent months.
Trump’s fiscal and immigration policies appear likely to boost the near-term inflation trajectory.
Today’s CPI release was a bit of a mixed bag, but overall it doesn’t change our view that headline year-over-year inflation should accelerate toward 2.0%–2.5% over the coming year.