Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Brief comments on the FOMC Statement and ECI

by Bill McBride on 4/29/2015 06:39:00 PM

For the first time in probably 10 years, I had a personal time conflict at the time of the FOMC statement release. Luckily I wasn't worried about a "surprise" ... but the next few meetings could be very interesting (I don't want to miss those releases)!

From Tim Duy: FOMC Snoozer

The FOMC concluded their meeting today, and the result left Fed watchers struggling to find something interesting to say. ...

The FOMC statement provides little new information about the timing or pace of future rates hikes. Even if you believe, as I do, that the first quarter weakness will prove to be largely transitory, the Fed is not willing to take that chance. They will need better data to justify a rate hike, and that need is pushing the timing of a policy change ever-deeper into 2015. There just isn't that much data between now and June to move the needle on policy. You need the jobs and inflation data to turn sharply better to pull the Fed back to June. It could happen, but I am not confident it will happen.

Bottom Line: Wait and see - that's the message of this statement.
And on the Employment Cost Index tomorrow from Business Insider: DEUTSCHE BANK: 'Hold on to your chair...'
In an email blast with the subject line "Hold on to your chair," Deutsche Bank's Torsten Slok warns Thursday's report could once again be a catalyst for volatility as it could have implications for monetary policy, in particular the timing of the Federal Reserve's first interest rate hike.

"Because of year-over-year base effects we could see a solid uptrend in wages," Slok wrote. "This kind of increase would have to make the Fed feel better about its inflation forecast, and recall that Chair Yellen has said that rising wage and price inflation is not a precondition for liftoff."
CR Note: I don't think this ranks as "hold on to your chair", but a consensus reading might be a sign that wages are picking up a little.

Thursday:
• At 8:30 AM ET, the initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released. The consensus is for claims to decrease to 290 thousand from 295 thousand.

• Also at 8:30 AM, Personal Income and Outlays for March. The consensus is for a 0.2% increase in personal income, and for a 0.5% increase in personal spending. And for the Core PCE price index to increase 0.2%.

• Also at 8:30 AM, the Q1 Employment Cost Index. The consensus is for a 0.6% increase in this index.

• At 9:45 AM, Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for April. The consensus is for a reading of 50.0, up from 46.3 in March.