Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is widely expected to announce a quarter-percentage point rate hike this afternoon in a press conference, and MarketWatch staffer Greg Robb reports that Fed watchers will be looking to pick up clues on the Fed’s updated economic outlook.
For instance, it’s unclear how the recent fiscal policy updates, like the tax legislation passed in December, has impacted the outlook. In the last forecast round in December, Fed officials marked up their 2018 forecast and we could see something similar today.
That means the Fed might lower their unemployment rate forecast, already at 3.9% and raise their expectations for core inflation, which is now at 1.9% The Fed could also move up their growth forecast. At the moment, the central bank is forecasting a 2.5% annual growth rate this year.
Also, will the Fed forecast four rate hikes in 2018? The December forecast had three, but some economists think four are likely. The difference between a four 2018 hike median and three 2018 hike median is probably going to be one vote,” said Simons of Jefferies. Blake Gwinn, a strategist with NatWest, said the 10 year Treasury note already has some possibility of a move to four priced in.Read More