Today’s Federal Reserve minutes were in line with expectations as the Fed continued its stance of patience signaling that they are happy with the current health of the economy. They indicated that the current Fed Funds rate is likely to remain steady for the foreseeable future. The Fed also addressed the trade war and the lackluster inflation data and they are not too worried about either issue.
Price action was relatively muted as the meetings outcome was in line with expectations. Gold is slightly down following the minutes while equites and the Dollar are slightly up.
All eyes were on the Federal Reserve’s inflation outlook going into todays meeting. Fed chair Jerome Powell, during his May 1st presser, mostly disregarded concerns that the overall economy is weakening based on suppressed inflation data. Excluding food and energy, which are typically the most volatile categories, prices are up 1.6% vs one year ago, down from 1.8% in January and 2% in December.
Powell maintained his stance on patience during the May 1st presser and made it clear that interest rates were on hold for the time being. A few days following that presser President Donald Trump reignited the idea of a trade war in various tweets. Following the Presidents statements the futures markets quickly priced in rate cuts for the end of this year and the beginning of next year.
The markets viewed the trade war as something that would hinder economic activity and put pressure on the Fed to lower rates. The markets were eager to see if today’s fed minutes would shed some light on the position of the Fed.
Fed Minutes Summary
Todays Fed minutes continued the stance of patience, the Federal Reserve has been careful not to indicate lower rates before it’s necessary. “Members observed that a patient approach to determining future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate would likely remain appropriate for some time” the minutes stated.
The overall strength in the labor market and the continued economic expansion makes the Fed feel comfortable putting rates on hold for the time being. “Participants continued to view sustained expansion of economic activity, with strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective as the most likely outcomes,” the minutes also stated.
The Fed noted that the drop in inflation can be attributed to factors such as sharply declining apparel cost. The Fed also addressed their view on the trade war and slowing economic growth. The statement read “A number of participants observed that some of the risks and uncertainties that had surrounded their outlooks earlier in the year had moderated, including those related to the global economic outlook, Brexit, and trade negotiations,” the minutes said.
Federal Reserve officials at their last meeting agreed that their patient approach to setting monetary policy could last 'for some time,' a further sign policymakers see little need to change rates https://t.co/b1Ix51LnEt pic.twitter.com/PYiUHlRhSG
— Reuters Business (@ReutersBiz) May 22, 2019
Price Action Following the Minutes
Price action was relatively muted following the minutes. Immediately following the minutes gold was up about $1 and equities were down slightly but quickly reverted to pre meeting levels.
Gold is down about a dollar in the 30 minutes following the meeting as the dollar caught a slight bid. Equities are also getting back to even on the day after a small rally following the Fed minutes. Overall these minutes were in line with what was expected which lead to the relatively calm trading following the minutes.