Friday, December 12, 2014

Goldman: FOMC Preview

by Bill McBride on 12/12/2014 07:51:00 PM

Some excerpts from a research note by economists Sven Jari Stehn and David Mericle at Goldman Sachs:

The economic dataflow has been solid since the October FOMC meeting. ... News on inflation, however, has been mixed. On the one hand, actual inflation measures have firmed a bit since October. But, on the other hand, oil prices have continued to decline and market-implied measures of inflation expectations have dropped further.

We expect modest upgrades to Fed officials’ projections and to the description of growth and the labor market in the FOMC statement, while the inflation forecasts are likely to come down a bit. These expectations for the economic projections would suggest that the “dots” remain broadly unchanged.

We expect the FOMC to modify its “considerable time” forward guidance. One possibility would be to state that the committee will be “patient” in raising the funds rate until it is clear that the economy is on the path to achieving the FOMC’s goals. ... Our forecast for updated guidance is a close call, however, as the committee would want to avoid a tightening of financial conditions in light of the mixed inflation news. We would therefore expect the committee to indicate that the change in guidance is not meant to convey an expectation of an earlier liftoff than previously communicated, either in the statement itself or in Chair Yellen’s press conference.

An area of particular interest for the press conference will be any discussion of the post-liftoff guidance, as recent Fed communication has raised the prospect that views might be starting to shift away from the “shallow glide path.” Our forecast remains for the first hike in September 2015, followed by a steeper path of the funds rate than current market pricing.
The meeting is next Tuesday and Wednesday.