Sunday, April 24, 2016

FOMC Preview: No Rate Hike, Risks "Nearly Balanced"

by Bill McBride on 4/24/2016 11:33:00 AM

The FOMC will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, and no change to policy is expected.

There will no economic projections released at this meeting, and there is no scheduled press conference by Fed Chair Janet Yellen (in the unlikely event there is a change to policy, Yellen will probably hold a press conference).

So the focus will be on the FOMC statement.

The FOMC dropped the phrase about "balanced" risks from the statements in January and March, and the FOMC is expected to add the phrase back in the statement this week - to prepare the markets for a possible rate hike in June or July.

Here is the sentence from last October:

"The Committee continues to see the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced ..."
Another key will be the discussion of "global" risks. The March statement mentioned global risks twice:
"Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in January suggests that economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace despite the global economic and financial developments of recent months."
and
"However, global economic and financial developments continue to pose risks."
There might be less concern in the statement about global risks in the April statement.

Also the FOMC might mention that growth has slowed in Q1 (Q1 GDP growth will be released on Thursday and is expected to show 0.7% annualized growth rate), and the statement might mention the pickup in the labor force participation rate.

The key - for a possible June rate hike - will be if the FOMC sees the risks as "balanced".