Over the past week, U.S. and global financial markets have gone from a period of complacency to being worried about an outright civil war and uprising in Iraq. But now economic markets are taking a breather from a sell-off based on geopolitical risks, and the focus seems to now be focused on Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve with its typical 2:00 p.m. announcement due on Wednesday, June 18.
This week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting will be a two-day meeting that begins on Tuesday. What some investors are bracing for now is what, if any, changes will be made to the exit of quantitative easing. What appears to be the norm is that no economists are looking for any formal rate hike. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warning that the United States needs to exit its low-rate environment is of no influence here.
One expectation is that another $10 billion in monthly bond buying will be tapered by the Federal Reserve. If history is a gauge, it will be $5 billion trimmed in monthly Treasury purchases and another $5 billion trimmed in monthly purchases of mortgage backed securities.
Another expectation is that the Federal Reserve will release its quarterly forecasts at the same time that it releases its statement. If gross domestic product (GDP) trends are static, then it is safe to assume that the forecast for GDP growth in 2014 will be lowered slightly.
In fact, the CME Fed Fund Futures is not signaling a 100% certainty that the Fed Funds rate will move from its near-zero benchmark now up to 0.25% until May of 2015. It is not until September of 2015 that the Fed Funds futures sees the Fed Funds rate projecting a certainty of 0.50%.
We would again warn readers that the FOMC announcements are not set in stone for the report time. That being said, they are generally a few minutes after the projected 2:00 p.m. time.