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Wednesday, July 15, 2015 3:10 PM

Hey Janet, It's July 15!

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In Congressional testimony today, Yellen Reiterates She Expects Rate Hike This Year.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told Congress Wednesday that the Fed still plans to begin raising interest rates this year amid an improving economy but that it will likely push them up gradually.

But the often-contentious hearing before the House Financial Services Committee repeatedly veered into sharp exchanges about the Fed's accountability to lawmakers.

On the economy, Yellen said, "Prospects are favorable for further improvement in the US labor market and the economy more broadly. In her semi-annual monetary policy testimony, she added that the Fed "expects US GDP growth to strengthen over the remainder of this year and the unemployment rate to decline gradually."

Yellen added that low oil prices and job growth should bolster consumer spending while the negative effects of a strong dollar and low oil prices on exports and business investment diminish.

She didn't provide more specifics about the timing of the first hike in the Fed's benchmark rate since 2006, reiterating that it will depend on the progress shown by the economy and labor market. Many economists expect the Fed to act as early as September; others say the central bank is likely delay the move until December or even 2016.
Hey Janet, What Day Is It?

For those not in a time warp or on the other side of the International date line, it's July 15.

A quick check of the FOMC calendar shows Fed policy meetings on July 28-29, and September 16-17.

Given the Fed generally gives rate hike notice the meeting before, it seems to me you have about two weeks to decide if you are going to hike in September.

Surprise cuts happen all the time, but how many times have we not heard a stern warning before a hike? (Has there ever been an exception before a hike?)

Then again, it's different this time. You have had the kid gloves on for four years.

Questions for Janet

  • Do the kid gloves ever come off?
  • When will you know?
  • When will we know, that you know?

As you have reiterated ad nauseam, it's "data dependent". So let's take a look at the most recent data.

Manufacturing production declined three times in the last six reports and today showed zero growth. Industrial production barely bounced. Retail sales are dismal.

It's not that I don't think you should hike. Indeed, I think you have blown massive bubbles everywhere thanks to loosey-goosey Fed policies.

  • Is that your real concern?
  • Are you hiding behind a charade of "data dependent" statements?
  • Or are you blind as a bat?
  • Can you say?
  • Do you even know?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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