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Wednesday, December 16, 2015 1:06 PM

Fed Hikes: Range Moves to 1/4 to 1/2 Range; Fed Signals Four More Hikes in 2016

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Today, the Fed hiked by 1/4 point as widely expected and signaled. Here is a snip from the  Fed's Statement

The Committee judges that there has been considerable improvement in labor market conditions this year, and it is reasonably confident that inflation will rise, over the medium term, to its 2 percent objective. Given the economic outlook, and recognizing the time it takes for policy actions to affect future economic outcomes, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1/4 to 1/2 percent. The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative after this increase, thereby supporting further improvement in labor market conditions and a return to 2 percent inflation.

In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments. In light of the current shortfall of inflation from 2 percent, the Committee will carefully monitor actual and expected progress toward its inflation goal. The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run. However, the actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.
The Fed moved its target range from 0-25 basis points to 25-50 basis points. Within that range it will be interesting to watch how the Fed actually positions increases and how fast.

Fed Signals Four More Hikes in 2016

Bloomberg reports Fed Ends Zero-Rate Era; Signals 4 Quarter-Point 2016 Increase .
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in almost a decade in a widely telegraphed move while signaling that the pace of subsequent increases will be “gradual” and in line with previous projections.

The Federal Open Market Committee unanimously voted to set the new target range for the federal funds rate at 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent, up from zero to 0.25 percent. Policy makers separately forecast an appropriate rate of 1.375 percent at the end of 2016, the same as September, implying four quarter-point increases in the target range next year, based on the median number from 17 officials.
Will the Fed hike 4 times? I highly doubt it. We will find out soon enough.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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