It’s difficult and probably not that important to rank today’s Fed day against other iterations over the past few years. It’s easy to say that it is probably the most interesting Fed day in at least a few years. We wouldn’t even entertain competition after the start of the tightening in late 2021 and that was arguably broadcast fairly clearly.
The only reason to bring this up is to reiterate that there’s a lot to learn about how this Fed regime will balance financial stability against its inflation fighting goals. Past comments give a clear nod to inflation fighting, but this is their chance to confirm it with a rate hike and no major change in the dot plot.
Timing of events this afternoon:
2:00PM ET – Fed Announcement AND the dot plot.
2:30PM ET – Fed Chair Powell press conference begins
We continue to assume that the dot plot will be at odds with the market’s expectations based on Fed Funds Futures. Dots were fairly unified for a 5.0-5.25 rate by the end of 2023 as of the December meeting. If anything, hawkishness increased since then.
Fed Funds Futures have a drastically different take for the end of 2023 after the recent bank drama:
Futures admittedly aren’t designed to predict the dot plot. We would expect the dots to act as a policy tool to some extent even if Fed members secretly suspect rates could end up lower than their dot suggests. More simply put, the dots are based on the info available today about inflation and its trajectory whereas futures go a step farther and consider how recent events are likely to shape inflation and the economy in the near future.
Bottom line: it won’t be a surprise to see the dots at odds with futures. It will simply be interesting to see how big the differences are and how markets react to that. The stakes for longer-term rates are bookended by 3.40 and 3.6 yet again, although 3.60 is a much softer pivot point seeing as how it’s been broken twice in the past few months.
Source: Mortgage News Daily