Goldman's FOMC Postmortem: "Faster Pace Of Hikes Reflects An Economy Close To Full Employment"

While Yellen is still speaking, here is Goldman's assessment of what the FOMC meant with its statement:

BOTTOM LINE: The FOMC raised the funds rate target range, as widely expected. In the accompanying projection materials, the median estimate of rate hikes for 2017 increased, and now shows three hikes for the year instead of two. The statement said that the committee aims to see only "some" further improvement in labor market conditions.


1. The FOMC announced an increase in the target rate for the federal funds rate to 0.50-0.75% from 0.25-0.50%, as widely expected. The post-meeting statement indicated that an increase was warranted due to “realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation”. The committee said that the stance of policy remained “accommodative” (rather than “moderately accommodative”, as in Chair Yellen’s recent Congressional testimony), which would help achieve “some further strengthening” in the labor market—with the “some” qualifier added to the statement at this meeting. Elsewhere the statement noted that the economy has been “expanding at a moderate pace”, and noted that inflation expectations in the bond market had increased “considerably”.

2. In the Summary of Economic Projections (SEP), participants made relatively few changes to their economic projections, but some upgraded their projections for the funds rate. The median projections for the funds rate showed three rate increases next year, up from two at the September meeting, with no changes to the number of hikes in 2018 and 2019. Longer-run projections for the funds rate also edged up, with the median rising to 3.0% from 2.9% previously. Elsewhere, the SEP showed slightly higher growth and headline inflation and lower unemployment for this year and also slightly higher growth and a lower unemployment rate for 2017. With a stable long-run unemployment rate but lower unemployment rate projections in 2017 and 2019, the higher projected pace of hikes next year may reflect the committee’s assessment that the economy is close to full employment.

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Translation: over to you, Donald Trump.