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Fed Expected To Keep Rates On Hold, But What Is Going To Be In The Statement?

Written by A Forex View From Afar on Tuesday, June 23, 2009

On Wednesday, the market expects the Fed to maintain the Federal Funds Rate at 0.25%, but this time the two-day meeting will probably raise more questions than the previous ones.

By a huge percentage, the market expects the Fed to maintain the key interest rate at 0.25% as the global economy maintains a roughly similar pace of contraction as in the prior period. However, over the last few months, a number of key macroeconomic reports have indicated that consolidation may be near record low levels, something that has the Fed along with most market participants believing that the pace of contraction is starting to ease.

This has created a real frenzy in the market by only focusing on “green shot” signs. Even though this is what the Fed expected to happen, once the market started to price in the signs of recovery, a relative strong increase in demand and thus inflation has begun to happen, creating a real problem for the world economy.

A few things that the Fed has to face on Wednesday, when it releases the FOMC statement are Treasury yields rising at a strong pace over this last month, the dollar declining, and oil more than doubling its price from the low touched earlier this year, something that has the potential to choke the global recovery.

To some extent, the Fed is now between a rock and a hard place, since a statement that can be interpreted as positive may further send the Treasuries higher/dollar lower, while the market may have a similar reaction to a more neutral statement, leaving traders to consider that the Fed may not be affected by the recent gains in Treasury yields. At the same time, a downbeat statement compared with the one released in April may have investors thinking that the market is returning back to a global contraction phase again, sending it back into risk-aversion mode. It will certainly be interesting to see how the Fed addresses this problem, especially when it needs to provide signs of financial/economic stability, while still anchoring the longer-term yields.

However, even though the market interprets any recent report as a sign that the recession is easing, some of the major imbalances that led the global economy towards the credit crisis in the first place are still not resolved or any vital steps being taken towards resolving them. Mainly, the default rate of U.S. mortgages is still high, the U.S. household savings rate remains at very low levels and the already low Fed Funds can only be sent even lower. The U.S. fiscal deficit is still high and unfortunately is continuing to head even higher. Maybe, somewhere in the future the Fed may want to address these issues too, before another bubble begins to form.

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