Policymakers on the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting committee are convinced rates will need to rise more than had been expected in September, but are preparing to moderate the pace of increases in coming months as they seek to assess the impact on the economy.
According to a record of the group’s early November meeting published this afternoon, many participants felt there was considerable uncertainty around how high the federal funds rate would need to climb, but “various participants” warned that with inflation remaining high against a backdrop of continued supply and demand imbalances, the ultimate level was “somewhat higher than they had previously expected”.
Perhaps more importantly, a “substantial majority” thought that a slowing in the pace of increases would “likely soon be appropriate,” giving the central bank time to assess progress toward its price stability and employment goals. Participants noted that “uncertain lags and magnitudes associated with the effects of monetary policy actions on economic activity and inflation” made a more cautious approach necessary. Several officials said “continued rapid policy tightening” could destabilize financial markets.
Policymakers continued to work toward engineering an economic slowdown, saying “a period of below-trend real GDP growth would be helpful in bringing aggregate supply and aggregate demand into better balance, reducing inflationary pressures, and setting the stage for the sustained achievement of the Committee’s objectives of maximum employment and price stability”.
Although new information was limited – officials have been telegraphing a deceleration in rate increases for months – terminal rate expectations fell slightly after the release, dropping back under the 5 percent mark, the dollar dropped, and risk-sensitive assets jumped across the board.
In other news, Canada is facing Belgium in its first World Cup game in 36 years, having auspiciously played last in 1986, after the global inflationary dragon had been slain and the Fed had begun cutting rates to stimulate growth. Canada is facing long odds in today’s match. The more things change, the more they stay the same.