2018 Economic Calendar
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FOMC Meeting Announcement  
Released On 3/21/2018 2:00:00 PM
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Federal Funds Rate - Target Level1.25 to 1.50 %1.625 %1.50 % to 1.75 %1.50 to 1.75 %

Three rate hikes, one down and two to go, are still the FOMC's call for 2018. The FOMC did raise its federal funds target rate by 25 basis points as expected, to a midpoint of 1.625 percent within a range of 1.50 to 1.75 percent, but FOMC forecasts still have 2.1 percent as the median projection for the end of the year.

"Moderation" is the statement's refrain with descriptions of the economy generally moved down from the "solid" category of the prior FOMC statement in January. The labor market is still described as strong but not economic activity which is now "moderate", with both household spending and business fixed investments also downgraded to having "moderated".

The description for inflation is unchanged, that the 12-month rate is expected to "move up" in coming months and to stabilize around the committee's 2 percent goal over the medium term. The statement also repeats that near-term risks to the economic outlook "appear roughly balanced".

Though the rate outlook for this year is unchanged, FOMC projections do see one more rate hike in 2019, at 2.9 vs 2.7 percent in December's quarterly projections, and at 3.4 vs 3.1 percent for 2020. And the projection for this year's GDP is upgraded 2 tenths to a median 2.7 percent with projections for core inflation, though holding unchanged at 1.9 percent for this year, raised 1 tenth to 2.1 percent for both 2019 and 2020.

Today's results suggest that policy makers do not see a risk of falling behind the inflation curve and are content to wait for the economy to accelerate through the year. At 8 to 0, the vote for today's results was once again unanimous.

Consensus Outlook
An incremental 25 basis point rate hike is the universal expectation among Econoday's sample for the March FOMC, in what is expected to be the first of three if not four such rate hikes this year. And the focus will be whether to expect a fourth and this will turn on the quarterly FOMC forecasts, which will be updated at the meeting, and also the statement's assessment of inflation and whether it is downgraded, upgraded or held steady. Comments by Jerome Powell, who will be making his first appearance at the quarterly press conference, will also affect the inflation takeaway. The federal funds target is expected to rise to 1.625 percent inside a range of 1.50 and 1.75 percent.

The FOMC meeting announcement is a policy statement issued at the conclusion of each meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. It offers updates on economic conditions with special focus on the health of the labor market and the latest on inflation. It also updates the status of the federal funds target which is the FOMC's official policy interest rate. This rate is expressed within a range, such as 1.75 to 2.00 percent. The center of this range is the implied target. The higher this target, the more restrictive monetary policy becomes, the lower this target, the more accommodative policy becomes. Other policy tools are also discussed in the meeting announcement including updates on direct purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. Debate is not offered in the statement, just the consensus view is expressed, though the statement does list the total committee vote and how each member voted.  Why Investors Care
The Fed closely monitors the core PCE price index to indicate whether or not policy is approximately correct, overly accommodative, or too restrictive. The PCE price index is preferred to the CPI because it is more closely aligned to the cost of living than the CPI [which measures a fixed basket of goods & services.] This chart covers monthly data and the fed funds target rate reflects the monthly average. As such, it will not correspond to the most recent fed funds rate target
Data Source: Haver Analytics

2018 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/313/215/26/138/19/2611/812/19

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