Responses to the Federal Reserve FOMC continue

Responses continue to flow in, this via Westpac, brief summary comments:
  • The FOMC left its policy settings unchanged, and repeated its key guidance messages, as was widely expected. 
  • The statement was a little more upbeat, noting “progress on vaccinations and strong policy support” are helping strengthen economic indicators, including employment. The rise in inflation was acknowledged, but seen as transitory. 
  • The Fed reiterated :”the path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus, including progress on vaccinations.” QE purchases will remain at at least $120bn per month “until substantial further progress has been made toward” the maximum employment and price stability goals. In Q&A, he said it’s not yet time to start talking about tapering asset purchases.
Response via National Australia Bank:
  • The latest FOMC meeting and press conference from chair Powell has come and gone with no big fireworks, though Treasury yields are lower, as is the USD, after Powell made clear that it was ‘not time yet’ to have a conversation about tapering its $120bn monthly QE bond buying programme and that we ‘are not close to’ the substantial progress toward its employment and price stability goals, that has been set as a conditions for contemplating doing so. 
  • This is despite the FOMC upgrading its economic assessment in the formal post-meeting Statement. This says that ‘indicators of economic activity and employment have strengthened (an  upgrade from ‘ have turned up’ in March) and that ‘sectors most adversely impacted by the pandemic have improved’ (versus ‘remained weak’ in March). 
  • The Statement also removed the adjective ‘considerable’ previously placed in front of the comment, repeated, that  ‘risks to the outlook remain’. The Fed chair also continued to stress the expected transitory nature of the pick-up in inflation that currently looks to be underway