Gold Prices Edge Higher Ahead of Fed Meeting

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Yellen, whose term ends in February, has repeatedly deflected all questions on this topic and will probably do so again.

Her to-do list is full: A possible third rate hike in 2017.

THE QUOTE: "The market is basically in a holding pattern until the Fed announcement", said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.

And there's the political item: Will President Trump reappoint her?

She said the Fed would adjust its policymaking if it thought the causes of low inflation had become permanent.

Besides, and nearly unnoticed by markets, Fed balance sheet reduction has already and very gradually been taking place through U.S. commercial banks, which have reduced their excess reserves by roughly United States dollars 500 billion since 2014.

Yellen also said the Fed still believes that persistently low inflation - below the Fed's 2 percent target rate for four years - is temporary.

On many days, demand to borrow the notes has been several billion dollars higher than the amount of the notes the Fed was able to supply, New York Fed data shows. Investors will also be listening for any update on the timing of another increase to the Fed's key interest rate. Coupled with the Fed's desire to raise the short-term fed funds rate, the potential detriment to the USA economy is clear. The statement may offer details on how the central bank plans to start shrinking its USD4.5 trillion balance sheet.

Oil prices were hovering near five-month highs helped by forecasts for rising demand and the gradual restart of USA oil refineries.

Inflation affects prices - milk, train tickets, everything. It's also expected that the process will happen very gradually: a reduction of $300 billion or so in the first year, then another $500 billion in the second. If prices don't rise, wages don't either. As expected, policy makers left the benchmark interest rate unchanged in a range of 1 percent to 1.25 percent.

The question of when and how the Fed will manipulate its main policy lever - its target for short-term rates - in coming months is less clear.

The Fed had reduced its benchmark interest rate to near zero, Blinder says. But economic growth and low unemployment suggest they should act.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a press conference after the end of the meeting that the fall in inflation this year remained a mystery, adding that the central bank was ready to change the interest rate outlook if needed.

The central bank said Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maris were expected to affect US economy in the near term, while they would not alter the course of the economy in the medium term.

The portfolio includes Treasury and mortgage-backed securities that were acquired during and after the 2007-09 financial crisis in a successful program to prop up the economy.

For years, the central bank piled up purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities, a strategy meant to stimulate the economy by reducing borrowing costs for everyone.

Banks and investors have benefited from having access to the Fed's expansive bond inventory for specific issues that can otherwise be hard to come by, but the Fed will soon have fewer bonds to lend. The Fed is not expected to increase discount rate at tomorrow's disclosures, but it can give information about reducing its balance worth $4.5 trillion. Stock market prices soared during the three QE stages, though economic growth otherwise was comparatively lackluster and coincided with the slowest recovery since the Great Depression.

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