2018 Economic Calendar
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FOMC Meeting Announcement  
Released On 8/1/2018 2:00:00 PM
PriorConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Federal Funds Rate - Target Level1.75 to 2.00 %1.875 %1.75 % to 2.25 %1.75 to 2.00 %

Highlights
There are no cracks appearing in Jerome Powell's Fed as the FOMC votes once again unanimously, at 8 to 0 to keep rates unchanged as expected. The federal funds target range remains at 1.75 to 2.00 percent with the midpoint target of 1.875 percent.

The labor market continues to be described as strengthening and inflation, both total and core, remaining near the Fed's 2 percent target. What is changed is the assessment of economic activity, now described as "strong" vs "solid" in the last FOMC statement in June, and also the assessment of household spending, which is the key driver of the economy and is now described as "strong" vs "picking up" in the last statement. The assessment of business investment is once again strong.

The upgrade for economic activity and household spending is a new wrinkle, one hinting perhaps at a strengthening in growth and inflation pressures and a rising sequence ahead for the Fed's rate-hike path. For right now, though, expectations will hold for two more incremental 25-basis-point rate hikes before the year is out.

Consensus Outlook
The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to keep its federal funds target range at 1.75 to 2.00 percent for a 1.875 percent implied target. There are outside expectations that the FOMC will raise its target range to 2.00 to 2.25 percent range and a 2.125 percent implied target. The low end of the consensus range, at 1.75 percent, and the high end of the outside range, at 2.25 percent, make for what is a wide 50-basis-point spread in Econoday's consensus range. Two rate hikes after this meeting are already penciled in for the rest of the year but factors supporting an immediate rate hike include the risk of economic overheating following last week's very strong GDP report and the need to assert the Fed's independence following calls from the Trump administration for the Fed to go slow. There will be no press conference or economic forecasts to accompany this meeting's statement.

Definition
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
 
[Chart]
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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