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Trading The US FOMC Interest Rate Decision, April 30, 2014

By Henry LiuForexApr 28, 2014 02:40AM ET
www.investing.com/analysis/trading-the-us-fomc-interest-rate-decision,-april-30,-2014-210865
Trading The US FOMC Interest Rate Decision, April 30, 2014
By Henry Liu   |  Apr 28, 2014 02:40AM ET
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US FOMC Interest Rate decision today is the primary focus of the week as the market is watching closely at the Feds to see if there are any changes to the official statement. With the Feds already on a set tapering path, market probably won’t react much if there aren’t much changes to the statement, and since no press conference is scheduled for this meeting, chances for a surprise today is low; however, if the statement were to differ from the prior by a large degree, expect heavy volatility.

2:00pm US FOMC Interest Rate Forecast 0.25% Previous 0.25%
DEVIATION: N/A

Let’s take a look at the prior changes for last FOMC Statement as our basis for today’s FOMC Statement. (bold font marks the changes)

March 19, 2014 – FOMC Statement Analysis

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in January indicates that growth in economic activity slowed during the winter months, in part reflecting adverse weather conditions [revised from "activity picked up in recent quarters."]. Labor market indicators were mixed but on balance showed further improvement. The unemployment rate, however, remains elevated. Household spending and business fixed investment continued to advance [revised from "advanced more quickly in recent months"], while the recovery in the housing sector remained slow. Fiscal policy is restraining economic growth, although the extent of restraint is diminishing. Inflation has been running below the Committee’s longer-run objective, but longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace and labor market conditions will continue to improve gradually [revised from "the unemployment rate will gradually decline"], moving toward those the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate. The Committee sees the risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market as nearly balanced. The Committee recognizes that inflation persistently below its 2 percent objective could pose risks to economic performance, and it is monitoring inflation developments carefully for evidence that inflation will move back toward its objective over the medium term.

The Committee currently judges that there is sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy to support ongoing improvement in labor market conditions [revised from "Taking into account the extent of federal fiscal retrenchment since the inception of its current asset purchase program, the Committee continues to see the improvement in economic activity and labor market conditions over that period as consistent with growing underlying strength in the broader economy"]. In light of the cumulative progress toward maximum employment and the improvement in the outlook for labor market conditions since the inception of the current asset purchase program, the Committee decided to make a further measured reduction in the pace of its asset purchases. Beginning in April, the Committee will add to its holdings of agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $25 billion per month rather than $30 billion per month, and will add to its holdings of longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $30 billion per month rather than $35 billion per month [another $10B taper]. The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. The Committee’s sizable and still-increasing holdings of longer-term securities should maintain downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative, which in turn should promote a stronger economic recovery and help to ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with the Committee’s dual mandate.

The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months and will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially in a context of price stability. If incoming information broadly supports the Committee’s expectation of ongoing improvement in labor market conditions and inflation moving back toward its longer-run objective, the Committee will likely reduce the pace of asset purchases in further measured steps at future meetings. However, asset purchases are not on a preset course, and the Committee’s decisions about their pace will remain contingent on the Committee’s outlook for the labor market and inflation as well as its assessment of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases.

To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy remains appropriate [removes "for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens."]. In determining how long to maintain the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will assess progress–both realized and expected–toward 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 developments [removes 6.5% unemployment threshold, establishes qualitative guidance]. The Committee continues to anticipate, based on its assessment of these factors, that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends [revised from "well past the time that the unemployment rate declines below 6-1/2 percent"], especially if projected inflation continues to run below the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run goal, and provided that longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored.

When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent. The Committee currently anticipates that, even after employment and inflation are near mandate-consistent levels, economic conditions may, for some time, warrant keeping the target federal funds rate below levels the Committee views as normal in the longer run [new clause on forward guidance].

With the unemployment rate nearing 6-1/2 percent, the Committee has updated its forward guidance. The change in the Committee’s guidance does not indicate any change in the Committee’s policy intentions as set forth in its recent statements [explains removal of 6.5% threshold].

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Janet L. Yellen, Chair; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Richard W. Fisher; Sandra Pianalto; Charles I. Plosser; Jerome H. Powell; Jeremy C. Stein; and Daniel K. Tarullo.

Voting against the action was Narayana Kocherlakota, who supported the sixth paragraph, but believed the fifth paragraph weakens the credibility of the Committee’s commitment to return inflation to the 2 percent target from below and fosters policy uncertainty that hinders economic activity [new dissent].

With the Feds continuing with the measured additional $10B of tapering per meeting, we should see further tapering today. Here are some potential scenarios:

  1. No Additional Tapering (total $55B left) - Market should sell off on the USD, we should go LONG on GBP/USD or EUR/USD immediately as USD should remain under pressure.
  2. Additional $10B (total $45B left) - Market could BUY USD, but because this is expected, market actions could be limited. I would stay on the USD side for longer-term trades…
  3. Additional $20B (total $35B left) - This would be a positive surprise for the USD as no one expects this size of addition. I will go ahead and SELL EURUSD, BUY USD/JPY.
Trading The US FOMC Interest Rate Decision, April 30, 2014
 

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Trading The US FOMC Interest Rate Decision, April 30, 2014

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