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Friday: New Home Sales

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From Tim Duy at Bloomberg Whom to Listen to in the Fed Minutes

When it comes to the meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee, not all central bank policy makers are created equally. There are “participants” — all the policy makers in the room — and there are “members,” those who have a vote. It is important to keep this distinction in mind when reading the minutes of the FOMC meetings — especially because many of the more hawkish members of the Fed are participants, not members.

So even though “many” participants appeared interested in moving rate hikes forward, “many” members “many” were comfortable with the expected pace of tightening, “some” might be somewhat more cautious but as of now their concerns appear to remain unfounded, while only “one” is looking to hike soon.

Overall, the minutes leave my assessment of the upcoming meeting little changed. Odds favor that the Fed will hold rates steady in March – the data largely confirms the existing forecasts and seems consistent with views of much of the committee that there is no need to rush rates. To be sure, upcoming inflation and employment reports could alter that outlook and pull the next rate hike forward. But given the cautious approach of committee members, stronger data might be pulling a June hike to May rather than all the way to March.

Friday:
• At 10:00 AM ET, New Home Sales for January from the Census Bureau. The consensus is for a increase in sales to 573 thousand Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) in January from 536 thousand in December.

• Also at 10:00 AM, University of Michigan’s Consumer sentiment index (final for February). The consensus is for a reading of 96.0, up from the preliminary reading 95.7.
Calculated Risk

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