Fed Hikes Rates, Unleashing First Tightening Cycle In Over 11 Years

On the 7th anniversary of entering ZIRP, and for the first time since June 29th 2006, The Federal Reserve announced today that it will try and raise interest rates:


Of course, the flowery language and dots are as dovish as possible while maintaining some semblance of credibility with regard growth expectations as The Fed unleashes a tightening cycle for the first time in over 11 years.

Pre-FOMC: S&P Futs 2050, 2Y 98bps, 10Y 2.29%, Gold $1072, Oil $36, EURUSD 1.0960



Heading into the decision, gold and silver suddenly started to fade, bond yields slid notably, and the USD jerked lower.

What's happened since The Fed folded in September? Macro "data" got worse... Market "data" got better...


The Fed has never raised rates in December when stocks were down over the last 6 months...

h/t @RyanDetrick

And when it has raised rates in December, stocks have pushed lower.


The Fed is raising rates today with the VIX above 20 for the first time since 2000...


That did not end well...


The Fed is also raising rates with Junk bonds trading worse that after Lehman...


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In the end, the Fed did not surprise, and 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.

“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,” the FOMC said in a statement Wednesday following a two-day meeting in Washington. The Fed said it raised rates “given the economic outlook, and recognizing the time it takes for policy actions to affect future economic outcomes.”

The increase draws to a close an unprecedented period of record-low rates that were part of extraordinary and controversial Fed policies designed to stimulate the U.S. economy in the wake of the most devastating financial crisis since the Great Depression. The FOMC lowered its benchmark rate to near zero in December 2008, three months after the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and 10 months before unemployment in the U.S. peaked at 10 percent.

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Full Redline below:

The number of words per statement:


There was much expectation that the Fed's announcement would be a Dovish hike based on a reduction in the 2016 median dot, however the Fed did not do that, and instead while the Kocherlakota negative dot was removed, the FOMC kept the median 2016 fed funds rate at 1.4% for year end, suggesting 4 rate hikes during 2016 and that the market is underestimating the pace of rate increases.

Where there was some dovishness was in the 2017 year end median FF, which was reduced from 2.6% to 2.4%. This can be seen in the compared dot plots.

Additionally, what is perhaps even more surprising is that while the Fed did boost its 2016 year end GDP forecast, it cut the median core PCE forecast from 1.7% to 1.6%, suggesting that the deflationary forces continue to prevail aside from the "transitory" impact of oil.


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