Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Duy: Is The Fed About To Experience A Repeat of 2016?

by Bill McBride on 12/28/2016 06:05:00 PM

From Tim Duy at Fed Watch: Is The Fed About To Experience A Repeat of 2016?

In the most recent Summary of Economic Projections, Fed officials penciled in three 25bp rate hikes for 2017. The reality, however, could be very different. We all remember how “four” became “one” in 2016. The median dots are neither a promise nor an official forecast. As 2016 progressed, forecasts associated with a lower path of SEP “dots” evolved as the consensus view of policymakers. Will the same happen this year? I don’t think so; it is hard to see the Fed on pause for another twelve months.
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Bottom Line: The economic situation on the ground is very different from December of last year. Whereas the decision to raise rates at that time looked ill-advised, this latest action appears more appropriate given the likely medium-term path of the US economy. Assuming the US economy is near full employment, that path likely contains enough upward pressure on activity to justify more than one more rate increase in 2017. Three I think is more likely than one. That said, the change in administrations and the path of fiscal policy creates uncertainties in both directions.
Three hikes may be more likely than one, but right now I think two hikes is the most likely - but it depends on the data and on fiscal policy (a great unknown).