The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

George Yacik - Contributor - Fed & Interest Rates

Surprise, surprise. The Fed isn't going to raise rates in June after all.

While the just-released minutes of the Fed's April 28-29 monetary policy meeting revealed the central bank "did not rule" out the possibility of raising rates at its June 16-17 meeting, "many participants thought it unlikely that the data available would provide sufficient confirmation that the conditions for raising the target range for the federal funds rate had been satisfied."

In other words, economic reports over the past several months haven't come close to giving the Fed comfort to start normalizing monetary policy – i.e., raising rates – without jeopardizing growth, or what little there has been recently.

In the first quarter, U.S. GDP rose only 0.2%, down from the 2.2% growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2014. But economists are now expecting that figure to be revised downward next Friday, possibly to show negative growth. Continue reading "The Waiting Is The Hardest Part"

So What Did Yellen Actually Say?

George Yacik - Contributor - Fed & Interest Rates

My educated interpretation of what Janet Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday boils down to this: The Fed is going to raise interest rates when it is going to raise rates and not one day earlier.

In other words, I don't have any idea, and it's likely she doesn't either. But it's probably not likely to happen in the immediate future, maybe not even this year.

Whether that's a mistake or not is a different matter (I think it is). But it was clear – or rather unclear – that the Fed has no intention of doing anything about raising short-term rates above near-zero anytime soon.

Analysts and pontificators, of course, did their best to put their own spin on what she said (kind of like what I'm doing now). In typical Fed Chair-speak, Yellen provided a bunch of "we might do this – but then again we might not" comments that could mean just about anything. Continue reading "So What Did Yellen Actually Say?"