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25 Feb. 2015 Yellen Bullish on Growth and Jobs - "Patient" Set to Go in March? (Publication Centre)

Chair Yellen's Testimony sought clearly to tell markets that the Fed has upgraded its view on growth, and the state of the labor market. After reading the first few paragraphs, which focussed clearly on the good news, though peppered with the usual caveats, the door was open for the section on policy to signal unambiguously that the Fed is close to its first tightening.

25 Sept. 2015 Yellen Defends Orthodoxy: Policy Lags Mean Rates to Rise this Year (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen set out a robust and detailed defense of the orthodox approach to monetary policy in her speech in Amherst, MA, yesterday afternoon. Her core argument could have come straight from the textbook: As the labor market tightens, cost pressures will build. Monetary policy operates with a "substantial" lag, so waiting too long is dangerous; the "...prudent strategy is to begin tightening in a timely fashion and at a gradual pace".

25 August 2017 Yellen to Talk on Financial Stability, But Might Refer to Policy too (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen speaks at Jackson Hole today, at 10:00 Eastern. Her topic is billed as "financial stability", but that does not necessarily preclude remarks on the outlook for the economy and policy.

24 Feb. 2015 Labor Data Set to Change Yellen's Tone at Today's Testimony? (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen is a committed believer in the orthodox idea that inflation is largely a cost-push phenomenon, and that the most important cost, by far, is labor. So in order to predict what Dr. Yellen might say about the outlook for Fed policy in her Testimony today--beyond the language of the January FOMC statement--we have to take a view on her assessment of the state of the labor market.

2 Dec. 2015 Yellen to Affirm Labor Market Gains, Promise "Gradual" Hikes (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen speaks to the Economics Club of Washington, D.C., at 12.25 Eastern today, a day before she appears before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress at 10.00 Eastern. These will be her last public utterances before the FOMC meeting on December 16. Dr. Yellen won't say anything which could be interpreted as seeking to front-run the outcome of the meeting; that's not her style. But we expect her clearly to repeat that the Fed's decision will depend on whether progress has been made since October towards the Fed's twin objectives of maximum employment and 2% inflation.

22 June. 2016 No Real Change from Yellen, but Acknowledgement of Other Views (Publication Centre)

Dr. Yellen's Testimony yesterday was largely a cut-and-paste job from the FOMC statement last week and her remarks at the press conference. The Fed's core views have not changed since last week, unsurprisingly, and policymakers still expect to raise rates gradually as inflation returns to the target, but will be guided by the incoming data.

26 September 2017 Dudley Follows the Yellen Line, December Hike Increasingly Likely (Publication Centre)

New York Fed president Dudley toed the Yellen line yesterday, arguing that the effects of "...a number of temporary, idiosyncratic factors" will fade, so "...inflation will rise and stabilize around the FOMC's 2 percent objective over the medium term.

27 August. 2015 Dudley, Channelling Yellen, Signals September is (Nearly) Out (Publication Centre)

It's hard to imagine that Fed Vice-Chair Dudley would choose to say yesterday that he finds the case for a September rate hike "less compelling than it was a few weeks ago" without having had a chat beforehand with Chair Yellen. Mr. Dudley pointed out that the case "could become more compelling by the time of the meeting", depending on the data and the markets, but he also argued that developments in markets and overseas economies can "impinge" on the U.S., and that there "...still appears to be excess slack in the labor market". These ideas, especially on the labor market but also on the impact of events overseas, are not shared by the hawks, but we can't imagine Mr. Dudley disagreeing in public with Dr. Yellen. We have to assume these are her views too.

5 Nov. 2015 Yellen Signals December Action, Data Permitting (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen yesterday reinforced the impression that the bar to Fed action in December, in terms of the next couple of employment reports, is now quite low: "If we were to move, say in December, it would be based on an expectation, which I believe is justified, [our italics] that with an improving labor market and transitory factors fading, that inflation will move up to 2%." The economy is now "performing well... Domestic spending has been growing at a solid pace" making a December hike a "live possibility." New York Fed president Bill Dudley, speaking later, said he "fully" agrees with Dr. Yellen's position, but "let's see what the data show."

6 March 2017 Yellen Effectively Promises a March Hike, with Good Reason (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen's speech Friday was remarkably blunt: "Indeed, at our meeting later this month, the Committee will evaluate whether employment and inflation are continuing to evolve in line with our expectations, in which case a further adjustment of the federal funds rate would likely be appropriate."

3 March 2017 Yellen and Fischer Won't Push Back Against a March Rate Hike Today (Publication Centre)

Speeches by Chair Yellen and Vice-Chair Fischer give the two most important Fed officials the perfect platform today to signal to markets whether rates will rise this month.

3 Dec. 2015 Yellen Throws Down the Gauntlet, But Gently, Leaving Get-Outs (Publication Centre)

Short of saying "We're going to hike rates in two weeks' time", Dr. Yellen's view of the immediate economic and policy outlook, set out in her speech yesterday, could hardly have been clearer. Yes, she threw in the usual caveats: "...we take account of both the upside and downside risks around our projections when judging the appropriate stance of monetary policy", and saying the FOMC will have to evaluate the data due ahead of this month's meeting, but her underlying message was straightforward.

27 September 2017 Yellen is Following the Tightening Labor Market, it's Telling her to Hike (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen's speech in Cleveland yesterday elaborated on the key themes from last week's FOMC meeting.

18 November. 2016 Yellen Still Thinks Inflation Will Hit the Target in Two Years. Hmm. (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen's Testimony yesterday pretended the election hadn't happened, and ignored the incoming administration's plans for a huge fiscal stimulus. She did address the issue under questioning, though, pointing out that fiscal stimulus could have inflationary consequences and that the Fed will have to factor-in to its decisions whatever Congress decides to do to taxes and spending.

26 August. 2016 No Clear Steer Likely From Yellen Today, After the Spring Debacle (Publication Centre)

Chair Yellen's speech at Jackson Hole at 10am Eastern time today has the potential to move markets substantially, but that's not our core expectation. It's more likely, we think, that Dr. Yellen will stick to the core FOMC view, which remains that "only gradual increases" in rates will be required, and that rates are "likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run".

15 February 2017 Yellen Says no "Active" Balance Sheet Management from the Fed (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen delivered no great surprises in her semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony, though she certainly was clear on her attitude to the balance sheet. The Fed does not want to "...use the balance sheet as an active tool of monetary policy."

14 February 2017 Yellen to Keep March Open, and Signal Fiscal Easing not Needed (Publication Centre)

We're not expecting drama from Chair Yellen's semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony in the Senate today. Dr. Yellen will want to keep alive the idea of a rate hike next month, but she will not signal that action is likely, given the continuing lack of clarity on the path of fiscal policy.

13 July 2017 Yellen Expects the Labor Market to Tighten Further, and Rates to Rise (Publication Centre)

Chair Yellen broke no new ground in her Testimony yesterday, repeating her long-standing view that the tightening labor market requires the Fed to continue normalizing policy at a gradual pace.

10 Feb. 2016 Yellen to Sound Cautious Today, but Can't Ignore the Labor Market (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen today needs to strike a balance between addressing investors' concerns over the state of the stock market and the risks posed by slower growth in Asia, and the tightening domestic labor market.

15 June 2017 Yellen to Markets: Core Inflation is Noisy, the Labor Market is the Key (Publication Centre)

The Fed's action, statement, and forecasts, and Chair Yellen's press conference, made it very clear the Fed is torn between the dovish signals from the recent core inflation data, and the much more hawkish message coming from the rapid decline in the unemployment rate.

12 July 2017 Yellen Will Re-affirm Fed Policy. Expect no Revelations, or Dates (Publication Centre)

Chair Yellen has become quite good at not giving much away at her semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony.

16 July. 2015 Upbeat Yellen Dismisses European Risk - Focus Back on U.S. Data (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen said nothing very new in the core of her Monetary Policy Testimony yesterday, repeating her view that rates likely will have to rise this year but policy will remain accommodative, and that the labor market is less tight than the headline unemployment rate suggests. The upturn in wage growth remains "tentative", in her view, making the next two payroll reports before the September FOMC meeting key to whether the Fed moves then.

16 Dec. 2015 Yellen Set to Signal Gradual Hikes, But Will the Data Let Her Deliver? (Publication Centre)

The Fed will raise rates by 25 basis points today, 11 years and six months since the previous tightening cycle began, in June 2004. This tightening, like that one, will end in recession eventually, but this time around we expect a garden-variety business cycle downturn rather than a massive financial crash and a near-death experience for global capitalism.

13 July. 2015 Dull Yellen Testimony Given Greek Story - then Back to Labor Data? (Publication Centre)

We expect Greece to do what it needs to do by Wednesday to secure its third bailout, and, judging by her speech in Cleveland last Friday, so does the Fed Chair. It's always risky to assume blithely that European politicians will do the right thing in the end, and they seem absolutely determined to humiliate Greece before writing the checks, but a completed deal is the most likely outcome.

16 June. 2016 Don't Fret Over One Jobs Report, Says Yellen, Doing Exactly That (Publication Centre)

If the Fed really believed its own rhetoric--"Inflation is expected... to rise to 2 percent over the medium term as the transitory effects of past declines in energy and import prices dissipate and the labor market strengthens further"--it would have raised rates yesterday, given the very long lags between policy action and the response from the real economy.

14 December. 2016 No Change in Median Dots, Yellen Will Stonewall on Fiscal Easing (Publication Centre)

The Fed will raise rates by 25bp today, but we expect no change in the median expectation-the dotplot-for two rate hikes both next year and in 2018. We fully appreciate that fiscal easing on the scale proposed by President-elect Trump, or indeed anything like it, very likely would propel inflation to a pace requiring much bigger increases in rates.

16 Mar. 2016 Can Yellen Reconcile Lower Dots, Rates on Hold and Rising Inflation? (Publication Centre)

The further improvement in labor market conditions and the jump in core inflation means that the economic data have given the Fed all the excuse it needs to raise rates today. But the chance of a hike is very small, not least because the fed funds future puts the odds of an action today at just 4%, and the Fed has proved itself very reluctant to surprise investors-- at least, in a bad way--in the past.

4 Dec. 2015 November Labor Data Will Support Yellen's Case for Hiking (Publication Centre)

We're expecting to see November payrolls up by about 200K this morning, but our forecast takes into account the likelihood that the initial reading will be revised up. In the five years through 2014, the first estimate of November payrolls was revised up by an average of 73K by the time o f the third estimate. Our forecast for today, therefore, is consistent with our view that the underlying trend in payrolls is 250K-plus. That's the message of the very low level of jobless claims, and the strength of all surveys of hiring, with the exception of the depressed ISM manufacturing employment index. Manufacturing accounts for only 9% of payrolls, though, so this just doesn't matter.

19 Feb. 2015 Never Mind the Dovish Minutes, What Does Yellen Think? (Publication Centre)

It's easy to read the January minutes as the dovish counterpart to a clear hawkish shift in the meeting. The statement, remember, upgraded the growth view to "solid" from "moderate"; it reiterated that the downward inflation shock from energy prices will be "transitory" and it said that the the pace of job growth is now "strong", having previously been "solid".

19 December 2016 Yellen Backs Away from the "High- Pressure" Economy (Publication Centre)

Judging by conversations we have had with investors since October, the idea that the Fed will be willing to let inflation overshoot the 2% target for a time has become received wisdom in the markets.

28 Sept. 2015 Don't Believe Case-Shiller Home Price Data - Prices are Rising (Publication Centre)

Former Treasury Secretary and thwarted would-be Fed Chair Larry Summers has been arguing for some time that the Fed should not raise rates "...until it sees the whites of inflation's eyes". As part of his campaign to persuade actual Fed Chair Yellen of the error of her intended ways, he argued at the World Economic Forum in September that the strong dollar has played no role in depressing inflation. Never one to miss an opportunity to diss the competition, he wrote that Stanley Fischer's view that the dollar has indeed restrained inflation is "substantially weakened" by the hard evidence. Dr. Summers' view is that inflation is being held down by other, longer-lasting factors, principally the slack in the lab or market, rather than the "transitory" influences favored by the Fed.

18 Sept. 2015 Global Risks Keep Fed on Hold - December Now in the Frame (Publication Centre)

The Yellen Fed acted--or rather, didn't act--true to form yesterday, preferring to take its chances with inflation one or two years down the line rather than surprising the markets by hiking rates and risking the consequences. Even before Dr. Yellen's tenure, the Fed has long been reluctant to defy market expectations on the day of FOMC meetings. Engineering a shift in market views of the likely broad path of policy is one thing, but shocking investors with unexpected action on specific days is another matter altogether.

11 Feb. 2016 March is Still in Play, but Only if Data and Markets Cooperate (Publication Centre)

If Fed Chair Yellen's objective yesterday was to deliver studied ambiguity in her Testimony--and we believe it was--she succeeded. She offered plenty to both sides of the rate debate. For the hawks, she noted that unemployment is now "...in line with the median of FOMC participants' most recent estimates of its longer-run normal level", and that inflation is still expected to return to the 2% target, "...once oil and import prices stop falling".

21 February 2017 Wages Don't Necessarily Lead Inflation, but Unit Labor Costs do (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen said something which sounded odd, at first, in her Q&A at the Senate Banking Committee last Tuesday. It is "not clear" she argued, that the rate of growth of wages has a "direct impact on inflation".

27 Apr. 2016 FOMC Statement Today Likely to Offer Little to Rate Hawks (Publication Centre)

A rate hike today would be a surprise of monumental proportions, and the Yellen Fed is not in that business. What matters to markets, then, is the language the Fed uses to describe the soft-looking recent domestic economic data, the upturn in inflation, and, critically, policymakers' views of the extent of global risks.

7 Dec. 2015 After the First Hike, Next Week, Wage Gains Will Set the Pace (Publication Centre)

We're guessing Fed Chair Yellen would have preferred to have another acceleration in hourly earnings and a dip in the unemployment rate along side the hefty 211K leap in November payrolls, but no matter. At its October meeting, the Fed wanted to see "some further improvement in the labor market", and by any reasonable standard a 509K total increase in payrolls in two months fits the bill.

11 Feb. 2015 Soaring Job Openings Suggest Super-Easy Money is Now Risky (Publication Centre)

Back in April 2012, Janet Yellen--then Fed Vice-Chair--spoke in detail about the labor market and monetary policy. The key point of her labor market analysis was that it was impossible to know for sure how much of the increase in unemployment--at the time, the headline rate was 8.2%--was structural, and how much was cyclical.

16 June 2017 LatAm Markets will Continue to Cope Well with Fed Tightening (Publication Centre)

LatAm markets reacted well to the U.S. Fed's decision to increase the funds rate by 25bp, to 1-to-1¼%, on Wednesday. Currencies moved only slightly after the decision and asset markets were relatively stable. Yesterday, some currencies retreated marginally as investors digested the relatively hawkish message from the Fed and Chair Yellen's press conference.

22 Mar. 2016 The Upturn in Core Inflation is Real - Don't Focus on the Noise (Publication Centre)

We pointed out in yesterday's Monitor that Fed Chair Yellen appears to be putting a good deal of faith in the idea that the recent upturn in core inflation is temporary. She argued that "some" of the increase reflects "unusually high readings in categories that tend to be quite volatile without very much significance for inflation over time".

2 November 2017 No Immediate Change to Rate Forecasts if Powell Nominated  (Publication Centre)

After a slew of media reports in recent days, we have to expect that the president will today announce that Fed governor Jerome Powell is his pick to replace Janet Yellen as Chair.

20 June. 2016 How Can the Fed Escape From the Loop of Endless Inaction? (Publication Centre)

For some time, the Fed has been locked in a loop of endless inaction. Every time the economic data improve and the Fed signals it is preparing to raise rates, either markets--both domestic and global-- react badly, and/or a patch of less good data appear. The nervous, cautious Yellen Fed responds by dialling back the talk of tightening, and markets relax again, until the next time.

21 September. 2016 No Hike Today, but the Door Will be Left Wide Open (Publication Centre)

We would be very surprised if the Fed were to raise rates today. The Yellen Fed is not in the business of shocking markets, and with the fed funds future putting the odds of a hike at just 22%, action today would assuredly come as a shock, with adverse consequences for all dollar assets.

21 Mar. 2016 The Fed Either Hopes for a Miracle or Wants Inflation to Overshoot (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen made it clear in last week's press conference that she is not convinced the increase in core inflation will persist: "I want to warn that there may be some transitory factors that are influencing [the rise in core inflation]... I see some of that is having to do with unusually high inflation readings in categories that tend to be quite volatile without very much significance for inflation over time.

21 September 2017 The FOMC is not Deterred by the Hurricanes, Expect a December Hike (Publication Centre)

The FOMC's view of the economic outlook and the likely required policy response, set out in yesterday's statement and Chair Yellen's press conference, could not be clearer.

15 December 2016 Congress, Growth and Inflation Will Determine What the Fed Does Next (Publication Centre)

The Fed's unanimous vote for a 25bp rate hike was overshadowed by the bump up in the dotplot for next year, with three hikes now expected, rather than the two anticipated in the September forecast. Chair Yellen argued the uptick in the rate forecasts was "tiny", but acknowledged that some participants moved their forecasts partly on the basis that fiscal policy is likely to be eased by the new Congress.

21 March 2017 The Debt Ceiling is Back, but no Crisis Likely Until the Fall (Publication Centre)

The federal debt ceiling was re-imposed last week, with no fanfare, and no reaction in the markets. All eyes were focussed instead on the Fed's rate hike and Chair Yellen's press conference.

26 Oct. 2015 What Has to Happen for the Fed to Hike in December? (Publication Centre)

A rate hike from the Fed this week would be a gigantic surprise, and Yellen Fed has not, so far, been in the surprise business. It would be more accurate to describe the Fed's modus operandi as one of extreme caution, and raising rates when the fed funds future puts the odds of action at close to zero just does not fit the bill.

MARKET WATCH - Yellen's message this week? Rate hikes are coming (Media Centre)

Chief US economist Ian Shepherdson on the latest Jobs report

23 September. 2016 How to Read the Split FOMC's Confusing Thought Processes (Publication Centre)

Over the past few days we have written about the difference between the Fed's tactics--signalling rate hikes and then choosing not to act in the face of weaker data--and its strategy, which is to normalize rates in the expectation that inflation will head to 2% in the medium-term.

23 October 2017 Wage Inflation Still Subdued, but a Decisive Turning Point is Coming (Publication Centre)

In the absence of any significant data releases today, we want to take a closer look at the outlook for wage growth, and the implications of an acceleration in hourly earnings for inflation.

23 January 2017 The Fed's Idea of Full Employment is not the Same as Main Street's (Publication Centre)

Full employment is a deceptively simple-sounding concept. If everyone who wants a job has one, the economy is at full employment, right? Anything less tends to raise eyebrows among non-economists, whether the people who want a job are formally inside the labor force, or have dropped out but would come back if they thought they could find work.

23 May. 2016 Does the Fed Funds Laffer Curve Explain Sluggish Growth? (Publication Centre)

Like just about everyone else, we have struggled in recent years to find a convincing explanation for the persistent sluggishness of growth even as the Fed has cut rates to zero and expanded its balance sheet to a peak of $4.2T. Sure, we can explain the slowdown in growth in 2010, when the post-crash stimulus ended, and the subsequent softening in 2013, when government spending was cut by the sequester.

23 September. 2016 The MXN Will Remain a Victim of Collateral Risk This Year (Publication Centre)

The risk of higher US rates put LatAm currencies under pressure during the first half of the week, before the US FOMC meeting on Wednesday. But they recovered some ground yesterday, following the Fed's decision to leave rates on hold.

25 Apr. 2016 Growth Will Rebound in Q2, But Brexit Fears Will Constrain the Fed (Publication Centre)

We are revising our forecast for Fed action this year, taking out two of the four hikes we had previously expected. We now look for the Fed to hike by 25bp in September and December, so the funds rate ends the year at 0.875%. The Fed's current forecast is also 0.875%, but the fed funds future shows 0.6%.

27 June. 2016 Brexit Constrains Fed, but Limited U.S. Fallout Means December is Live (Publication Centre)

By the close on Friday, the initial reaction in U.S. markets to the U.K. Brexit vote could be characterized as a bad day at the office, but nothing worse. Not a meltdown, not a catastrophe, no exposure of suddenly dangerous fault lines.That's not to say all danger has passed, but the first hurdle has been overcome.

27 May. 2016 June, July, or September: Evaluating the Fed's Options (Publication Centre)

After a busy week of data, and a holiday weekend ahead, it's worth stepping back a bit and evaluating the arguments over the timing of the next Fed hike. The first question, though, is whether the data will support action, on the Fed's own terms. The April FOMC minutes said: "Most participants judged that if incoming data were consistent with economic growth picking up in the second quarter, labor market conditions continuing to strengthen, and inflation making progress toward the Committee's 2 percent objective, then it likely would be appropriate for the Committee to increase the target range for the federal funds rate in June".

27 Jan. 2016 FOMC Likely to Warn Again of External Risks, and do... Nothing (Publication Centre)

Today's FOMC announcement will be something of a non-event. Rates were never likely to rise immediately after December's hike, and the weakness of global equity markets means the chance of a further tightening today is zero.

26 Feb. 2016 Core PCE Inflation Set to Jump - Fed Target is Within Reach in 2016 (Publication Centre)

All eyes will be on the core PCE deflator data today, in the wake of the upside surprise in the January core CPI, reported last week. The numbers do not move perfectly together each month, but a 0.2% increase in the core deflator is a solid bet, with an outside chance of an outsized 0.3% jump.

25 September 2017 Oil Output has Already Rebounded from the Harvey Hit (Publication Centre)

The rising trend in U.S. oil production was interrupted only briefly by the hurricanes.

22 September. 2016 December Fed Hike Still Most Likely (Publication Centre)

The hawks clearly tried hard to persuade their more nervous colleagues to raise rates yesterday. In the end, though, they had to make do with shifting the language of the FOMC statement, which did not read like it had come after a run of weaker data.

22 May 2017 What Does the Path to the Recession of 2019 Look Like? (Publication Centre)

In recent years only one event has made a material difference to the growth path of the U.S. economy, namely, the plunge in oil prices which began in the summer of 2014. The ensuing collapse in capital spending in the mining sector and everything connected to it, pulled GDP growth down from 2½% in both 2014 and 2015 to just 1.6% in 2016.

2 March 2017 How Will the Fed Decide Whether to Hike in March, or Wait? (Publication Centre)

The odds of a hike this month have increased in recent days, though the chance probably is not as high as the 82% implied by the fed funds future. The arguments against a March hike are that GDP growth seems likely to be very sluggish in Q1, following a sub-2% Q4, and that a hike this month would be seen as a political act.

20 Apr. 2015 The Weather was the Big Story in Q1, and the Hit Will Reverse (Publication Centre)

If our inbox is any guide, a significant proportion of investors remain far from convinced that the slowdown in the economy in the first quarter is largely the consequence of the severe weather, with an additional temporary hit to capex from the rollover in the oil sector.

21 June. 2016 Monetary Policy Testimony Won't Signal a Change in Fed Thinking (Publication Centre)

Back in the dim and increasingly distant past the semi-annual Monetary Policy Testimony--previously known as the Humphrey-Hawkins--used to be something of an event. Today's Testimony, however, is most unlikely to change anyone's opinion of the likely pace and timing of Fed action.

20 March 2017 If Fundamental Tax Reform Fails, What Happens to Fiscal Policy? (Publication Centre)

The White House Budget for fiscal 2018, released last week, has no chance of becoming law in anything like its current form, so we don't propose to spend much time dissecting it. But we do need to set out our view on what might actually happen to fiscal policy over the next few months, because it potentially could make a material difference to the pace, and ultimate extent, of Fed tightening.

20 July. 2015 Core Inflation Set to Breach 2% by the September FOMC Meeting (Publication Centre)

When FOMC members sit down to begin their two-day meeting on September 16, the August CPI numbers will have just been released. We expect the data will show core inflation at 2.0% or a bit higher, up from a low this year of just 1.6%. Shorter-term measures of inflation will, we think, be 2¼-to-½%. These numbers are not outlandish; they just require the monthly gains in the core CPI to match June's pace, which was in line with the average for the previous six months.

28 Apr. 2016 Global Risks Gone, but the Fed is Still Relaxed About Inflation Risk (Publication Centre)

The disappearance from the FOMC statement of any reference to global risks, which first appeared back in September, was both surprising and, in the context of this cautious Fed, quite bold. After all, one bad month in global markets or a reversal of the jump in the latest Chinese PMI surveys presumably would force the Fed quickly to reinstate the global get-out clause. So, why drop it now?

2 October 2017 Four Reasons Why the Treasury Selloff Might be the Real Thing (Publication Centre)

The recent sell-off in Treasuries has not yet reached significant proportions.

21 Sept. 2015 Don't Focus on Industry - The U.S. is a Domestic Services Economy (Publication Centre)

The economy is bifurcating. Manufacturing is weak, and likely will remain so for some time, though talk of recession in the sector is overdone. Even more overdone is the idea that the softness of the industrial sector will somehow drag down the rest of the economy, which is more than seven times bigger.

20 December 2016 Fiscal Easing Likely Would Boost Productivity, but not by Enough (Publication Centre)

The two key planks of the argument that a substantial easing of fiscal policy won't be inflationary are that labor participation will be dragged higher, limiting the decline in the unemployment rate, while productivity growth will rebound, so unit labor costs will remain under control.

20 September 2017 Expect a December Hike (Publication Centre)

The FOMC won't raise rates today, but we expect that the announcement of the start of balance sheet reduction will not be interrupted by Harvey and Irma.

22 September 2017 How far will the Hurricanes Depress September Payrolls? (Publication Centre)

The trend rate of increase in private payrolls in the months before Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was about 240K per month.

7 June. 2016 Atlanta Fed Wage Tracker Hits Seven-Year High - Does it Matter? (Publication Centre)

The headline hourly earnings data for May were dull, showing the year-over-year rate unchanged at 2.5%. That's up from 2.1% in the year to May 2015, but it's not an alarming rate of increase. But the Atlanta Fed's median hourly earnings data, which track the wages of individuals from year-to-year, show wages up 3.4% year-over-year, the fastest rate of increase since February 2009.

2 Feb. 2015 Slower Q4 Growth is a Distraction - Labor Data Matter Much More (Publication Centre)

Don't fret over the slowdown in growth in the fourth quarter. The quarterly GDP data are volatile even after several rounds of revisions, and the advance numbers are full of assumptions about missing trade, inventory and capex data, which often turn out to be wrong.

7 November 2017 JOLTS Report will Confirm that Labor Demand is Rising Strongly (Publication Centre)

No single measure of labor demand is always a reliable leading indicator of the official payroll numbers, which is why we track an array of private and official measures.

6 October 2017 September Payrolls Hit by the Hurricanes, but Earnings set to Pop (Publication Centre)

We would be quite surprised if today's official payroll number exceeded the 135K ADP reading; a clear undershoot is much more likely.

6 Apr. 2016 Productivity Slowdowns Have Happened Before, and Reversed (Publication Centre)

With only three weeks to go until the release of the initial official estimate of first quarter GDP, the Atlanta Fed's GDPNow measure shows growth at just 0.4%. Our own estimate, which includes our subjective forecasts for the missing data--the Atlanta Fed's measure is entirely model-based--is a bit higher, at 1%, and both measures could easily be revised significantly.

5 May 2017 Payrolls Should Rebound to More than 200K, Wage Gains up too? (Publication Centre)

If the underlying trend in payroll growth is about 200K, then a weather-depressed 98K reading needs to be followed by a rebound of about 300K in order fully to reverse the hit. But the consensus for today's April number is only 190K, and our forecast is 225K.

8 November 2017 New Fed Governors Likely to be Dovishly-Inclined, up to a Point (Publication Centre)

The impending retirement of New York Fed president Dudley creates yet another vacancy on the FOMC.

9 Feb. 2015 Labor Data Forcing the Fed Into a Corner - (Publication Centre)

It's always easy to find reasons to doubt single monthly observations of any economic time series, but our first chart makes it very clear that the labor market has strengthened markedly over the past few months. The underlying trend rate of growth in private payrolls is now above 300K for the first time in exactly 20 years, and we seen no reason to expect much change over the next few months.

9 November. 2016 With Trump the Likely winner, what next for policy and Markets? (Publication Centre)

The verdict is not yet definitive, but prudence dictates we must now assume victory for Donald Trump. The immediate implication of President Trump is global risk-off, with stocks everywhere falling hard, government bonds rallying, alongside gold and the Swiss franc. The dollar is the outlier; usually the beneficiary when fear is the story in global markets, it has fallen overnight because the risk is a U.S. story.

9 Nov. 2015 Fed Set to Hike in December, and then Faster than Markets Expect (Publication Centre)

At a stroke, the October payroll report returned the short-term trend in payroll growth to the range in place since 2011, pushed the unemployment rate into the lower part of the Fed's Nairu range, and lifted the year-over-year rate of growth of hourly earnings to a six-year high. The FOMC has never quantitatively defined what it means by "some further improvement in the labor market", its condition for increasing rates, but if the October report does not qualify, it's hard to know what might fit the bill. We expect a 25bp increase in December.

9 May 2017 Chainstore Sales Rebound Points to Robust Q2 Consumption (Publication Centre)

If the Redbook chain store sales survey moved consistently in line with the official core retail sales numbers, it would attract a good deal more attention in the markets. We appreciate that brick-and-mortar retailers are losing market share to online sellers, but the rate at which sales are moving to the web is quite steady and easy to accommodate when comparing the Redbook with the official data.

9 June. 2016 The Inventory Rundown isn't Over, but the Intensity Will Soon Diminish (Publication Centre)

The collapse in capital spending in the oil sector last year was the biggest single drag on the manufacturing sector, by far. The strong dollar hurt too, as did the slowdown in growth in China, but most companies don't export anything. Capex has fallen in proportion to the drop in oil prices, so our first chart strongly suggests that the bottom of the cycle is now very near.

5 Mar. 2015 Stronger Fed Growth Forecasts Mean Even Lower Unemployment (Publication Centre)

In the wake of last week's downward revision to fourth quarter GDP growth, productivity will be revised down too. We expect the initial estimate, -1.8%, to be revised down to -2.4%, a startling reversal after robust gains in the second and third quarters.

5 July 2017 ISM Signals Continued Industrial Recovery, but not a Boom (Publication Centre)

The June ISM manufacturing index signalled clearly that the industrial recovery continues, with the headline number rising to its highest level since August 2014, propelled by rising orders and production. But the industrial economy is not booming and the upturn likely will lose a bit of momentum in the second half as the rebound in oil sector capex slows.

3 May 2017 Fed on Hold Today After Mixed Data, but a June Hike Still Looks Likely (Publication Centre)

The Fed likely will do nothing today, both in terms of interest rates and substantive changes to the statement. We'd be very surprised to hear anything new on the Fed's plans for its balance sheet.

3 July 2017 Three Jobs Reports in Nine Weeks set to Shift Market Rate Expectations (Publication Centre)

The next nine weeks bring three jobs reports, which will determine whether the Fed hikes again in September, as we expect, and will also help shape market expectations for December and beyond.

29 Oct. 2015 All Fed Eyes Now on the October, November Employment Reports (Publication Centre)

The Fed yesterday toned down its warnings on the potential impact on the U.S. of "global economic and financial developments", and upgraded its view on the domestic economy, pointing out that consumption and fixed investment "have been increasing at solid rates in recent months". In September, they were merely growing "moderately". Policymakers are still "monitoring" global and market developments, but the urgency and fear of September has gone. The statement acknowledged the slower payroll gains of recent months--without offering an explanation--but pointed out, as usual, that "underutilization of labor resources has diminished since early this year" and that it will be appropriate to begin raising rates "some further improvement in the labor market".

29 Jan. 2016 Will Inventories and Government Hold Q4 GDP Close to Zero? (Publication Centre)

We expect to learn today that the economy barely grew at all in the fourth quarter. At least, that's what we think the first estimate of growth, due today, will show. This number will then be revised twice over the next couple of months, then again when revisions for the past three years are released in July. Thereafter, the numbers are subject to further annual revisions indefinitely.

3 October 2017 BanRep Leaves Rates on Hold, But Further Stimulus Will Come Soon (Publication Centre)

Colombia's Central Bank is facing a short-term test. The recent fall in inflation was interrupted in August--data due on Thursday will show another increase in September--while economic growth, particularly consumption, is struggling, at least for now.

30 June. 2016 The Fed's Focus Will Return to the Wage Outlook, Unchanged by Brexit (Publication Centre)

We aren't materially changing our U.S. economic forecasts in the wake of the U.K.'s Brexit vote, though we have revised our financial forecasts. The net tightening of financial conditions in the U.S. since the referendum is just not big enough--indeed, it's nothing like big enough--to justify moving our economic forecasts.

4 January 2017 December's ISM looks great, but it's not definitive (Publication Centre)

It probably would be wise to view the increase in the ISM manufacturing index in December with a degree of skepticism. The index is supposed to record only hard activity, but we can't help but wonder if some of the euphoria evident in surveys of consumers' sentiment has leaked into responses to the ISM. That said, the jump in the key new orders index-- which tends to lead the other components--looked to be overdue, relative to the strength of the import component of China's PMI.

4 December 2017 Hefty Tax Cuts at Full Employment Make no Sense, but they're Coming (Publication Centre)

It's not our job to pontificate on the merits, or otherwise, of the tax cut bill from a political perspective.

4 Apr. 2016 While We Were Out... (Publication Centre)

The March employment report didn't tell us what we really want to know. The underlying trend in wage growth remains obscured by the calendar quirk which depresses reported hourly earnings when the 15th of the month--pay day for people paid semi-monthly -- falls after the payroll survey week.

30 November 2017 A Strong Start to Fourth Quarter Consumption, Probably (Publication Centre)

The rate of growth of third quarter consumers' spending was revised up by 0.3 percentage point to 3.3% in the national accounts released yesterday.

28 Oct. 2015 Budget Deal Means Fiscal Policy Will Ease Slightly Next Year (Publication Centre)

The two-year budget deal agreed between the administration and the Republican leadership in Congress will avert a federal debt default and appears to constitute a modest near-term easing of fiscal policy. The debt ceiling will not be raised, but the law imposing the limit will be suspended through March 2017, leaving the Treasury free to borrow as much as necessary to cover the deficit. As a result, the presidential election next year will not be fought against a backdrop of fiscal crisis.

13 December. 2016 Today's NFIB Labor Data are not New, but they are Important (Publication Centre)

The falling unemployment rate and the threat it poses to the inflation outlook mean that the labor market numbers in the NFIB small business survey attract more attention than the other data in the report.

12 December. 2016 Participation Won't Rise Enough to Prevent Higher Inflation (Publication Centre)

It appears to be something of an article of faith among economic advisors to President-elect Trump that substantial fiscal stimulus will generate faster growth without boosting inflation, because both labor participation and productivity growth will rise.

12 August. 2015 China's Devaluation Won't Deter the Fed, Or Wreck the Economy (Publication Centre)

China's 1.8% downshift in the RMB/dollar reference rate will make only a microscopic difference to the pace of U.S. economic growth and inflation. It will not deter the Fed from raising rates if the domestic labor market continues to tighten, as all the data suggest. The drop in the RMB merely restores the nominal exchange rate to its fall 2012 level, since which time the real exchange rate has risen by some 20%, according to the BIS.

11 October 2017 JOLTS Data Signal Rapid Job Gains, and Tight Labor Supply (Publication Centre)

Today's JOLTS survey covers August, which seems like a long time ago. But the report is worth your attention nonetheless.

12 October. 2016 How Hard Did FOMC Dissenters Push to Hike?  (Publication Centre)

Today's FOMC minutes will add flesh to the bones of the three dissents on September 21. The FOMC statement merely said that each of the three--Loretta Mester, Esther George and Eric Rosengren--preferred to raise rates by a quarter-point.

13 Apr. 2015 A June Hike Depends on the April, May Payroll Data - Expect Strength (Publication Centre)

Treasury yields closed Friday a few basis points higher across the curve than the day before the surprisingly soft March payroll report. A combination of slightly less dovish-than-expected FOMC minutes, a hawkish speech from Richmond president Jeff Lacker, rising oil prices, and robust--albeit second-tier--data last week seem to have done the work.

13 Nov. 2015 Retail Sales Data are Misleading When Goods Prices Fall (Publication Centre)

Retail sales account for some 30% of GDP--more than all business investment and government spending combined--so the monthly numbers directly capture more of the economy than any other indicator. Translating the monthly sales numbers into real GDP growth is not straightforward, though, because the sales numbers are nominal. Sales have been hugely depressed over the past year by the plunging price of gasoline and, to a lesser extent, declines in prices of imported consumer goods.

13 February 2017 What Would it Take to Persuade the Fed to Hike in March? (Publication Centre)

Our argument that rates could rise as soon as March has always been contingent on two factors, namely, robust labor market data and a degree of clarity on the extent of fiscal easing likely to emerge from Congress. On the first of these issues, the latest evidence is mixed.

19 May. 2016 Fed on Course to Hike, Soon, but Will Brexit Risk Forestall June? (Publication Centre)

The April FOMC minutes don't mince words: "Most participants judged that if incoming data were consistent with economic growth picking up in the second quarter, labor market conditions continuing to strengthen, and inflation making progress toward the Committee's 2 percent objective, then it likely would be appropriate for the Committee to increase the target range for the federal funds rate in June".

11 Jan. 2016 Payroll Growth Will Slow in Q1, But Wages Will Accelerate (Publication Centre)

Payroll growth will slow in the first few months of next year, but wages will accelerate. This might seem counter-intuitive after the ballistic December jobs number coupled with sluggish-looking hourly earnings, but the devil, as always, is in the details. On the face of it, the trend in payroll growth is accelerating at a startling pace, captured in our first chart. But we very much doubt this reflects a real shift in the underlying pace of employment growth, for two reasons. First, payroll growth in recent years has tended to accelerate in the fourth quarter, even when indicators of both labor demand and the pace of layoffs--the two sides of the payroll equation--have been flat, as in Q4.

11 August 2017 Commodities Driving Japan's PPI, a Weaker Yen is Needed to Lift CPI (Publication Centre)

Japanese PPI inflation rose sharply to 2.6% in July from 2.2% in June, well above the consensus for a modest rise.

08 Jan. 2016 Expect Robust Jobs Data, but Downside Risk for Wages (Publication Centre)

The underlying trend in payroll growth is running at about 225K-to-250K, perhaps more, and the leading indicators we follow suggest that's a reasonable starting point for our December forecast. The trend in jobless claims is extraordinarily low and stable--the week-to-week volatility is eye-catching, especially over the holidays, but unimportant--and indicators of hiring remain robust. The unusually warm weather in the eastern half of the country between the November and December survey weeks also likely will give payrolls a small nudge upwards, with construction likely the key beneficiary, as in November.

08 Feb. 2016 If the Fed Focuses on Wages, They'll Hike in March (Publication Centre)

The Fed's decisions over the next few months hinge on the relative importance policymakers place on the apparent slowdown in payroll growth and the unambiguous acceleration in wages. We qualify our verdict on the payroll numbers because the January number was very close to our expectation, which in turn was based largely on an analysis of the seasonals, not the underlying economy.

03 Feb. 2016 Stan Fischer Wants Steady 3% Wage Gains - Good Luck (Publication Centre)

Stanley Fischer said something interesting and potentially very revealing in the Q&A following his speech Tuesday afternoon at the Council on Foreign Relations. The Fed Vice-Chair argued that wage increases of 3% are "where people would like to be", meaning, presumably, that he believes sustained wage gains at this pace are consistent with the Fed's 2% medium-term inflation forecast.

10 August. 2015 While We Were Out... (Publication Centre)

...The Fed told investors that it now requires only "some further improvement" in labor market conditions before starting to raise rates-- the "some" is new--but did not set out any specific conditions. With the unemployment rate now just a tenth above the top of the Fed's Nairu range, 5.0-to-5.2%, and very likely to dip into it by the time of the decision on September 17, while payroll growth is trending solidly above 200K per month, rates already would have been raised some time ago in previous cycles.

10 August. 2016 When Rates are Close to Zero, Behavior Changes (Publication Centre)

Slowly but surely, it is becoming respectable to argue that central bank policy in the developed world is part of the problem of slow growth, not the solution. We have worried for some time that the signal sent by ZIRP--that the economy is in terrible shape--is more than offsetting the cash-flow gains to borrowers.

10 October 2017 New Lows for Unemployment will Stiffen Fed Hawks' Resolve (Publication Centre)

Neither the 33K drop in September payrolls nor the 0.5% jump in hourly earnings tells us anything about the underlying state of the labor market.

10 July 2017 Jobs Gains to Push Unemployment Below 4%, the Fed will Hike Further (Publication Centre)

The gratifyingly strong 222K headline June payroll gain, if repeated through the second half of the year, will put unemployment below 4% by December.

10 January 2017 The Core Inventory Cycle is Turning, but Q4 Data Likely Won't Show it (Publication Centre)

For some time now we have argued that collapse in capital spending in the oil sector was the source of most of the softening of activity in the manufacturing and wholesaling sectors last year.

13 October. 2016 The FOMC is Profoundly Split (Publication Centre)

It would not be fair to describe the FOMC as gridlocked, because that would imply no clear way out of the current position. Members' views of the risks to the economy, the state of the labor market, and the degree of inflation risk are all over the map, and the chance of a broad consensus emerging any time soon is slim.

13 December 2017 Will the Fed Forecast Sub-4% Unemployment Next Year? (Publication Centre)

Today's rate hike will be accompanied by a new round of Fed forecasts, which will have to reflect the faster growth and lower unemployment than expected back in September.

14 Apr. 2016 Core CPI Inflation is Trending Higher, but Expect a March Pause (Publication Centre)

Since January 2015, Core CPI inflation has risen to 2.3% from 1.6%, propelled by a combination of accelerating rents, a substantial rebound in the rate of increase of healthcare costs, and a modest-- though unexpected--upturn in core goods prices. It's always risky, though, simply to extrapolate recent trends and assume you now have a clear guide to the future.

17 June. 2015 FOMC to Acknowledge Rebound, but Rate Dots Likely Unchanged (Publication Centre)

The tone of today's FOMC statement likely will be different to the gloomy April missive, which began with a list of bad news: "...economic growth slowed during the winter months, in part reflecting transitory factors. The pace of job gains moderated... underutilization of labor resources was little changed. Growth in household spending declined... Business fixed investment softened, the recovery in the housing sector remained slow, and exports declined."

17 July 2017 September Rate Hike Odds Have Fallen, but it's not Over Yet (Publication Centre)

After four straight sub-consensus core CPI readings, we think the odds now favor reversion to the prior trend, 0.2%, over the next few months.

16 October 2017 Don't Rule Out a Hurricane-Induced Jump in the Core CPI (Publication Centre)

The September core CPI was held down by prescription drug prices, which fell by 0.6%, and vehicle prices, which fell by 0.4%.

17 Sept. 2015 No rate hike today - December a better bet than October? (Publication Centre)

We expect the Fed not to raise rates today. In the eyes of the waverers who will need to change their minds in order to trigger action, the latest data-- especially wages--do not make a compelling case for immediate action, and the obvious fragility of markets strengthens the case for doing nothing today. This is a Fed which in recent years has greatly preferred to err on the side of caution. With no immediate inflation threat, the waverers and the doves will take the view that the cost of delaying the first move until October or December is small. As far as we can tell, they are the majority on the committee.

19 July. 2016 Why is Homebuilding not Keeping Pace with Demand? (Publication Centre)

The sustained upturn in mortgage applications since last fall ought to have driven up the pace of new home construction quite sharply. But our first chart shows that single-family building permit issuance--we use permits rather than starts, as they are much less volatile--rose only 8.3% year-over-year in the three months to May, while applications for new mortgages to finance house purchase jumped by 18.8% over the same period.

19 May 2017 Expect a Hike on June 14 Unless Financial Conditions Tighten, a Lot (Publication Centre)

The probability of a rate hike on June 14, as implied by the fed funds future, has dropped to 90%, from a peak of 99% on May 5.

19 Mar. 2015 Reluctant Tighteners, but the Fed Will Have to Move - June Still Live (Publication Centre)

The FOMC gave every impression yesterday that it was collectively very reluctant to drop "patient" from the statement--presumably, members conceded that the surge in employment growth left them no choice--and then did its very best to pretend that the change in the language didn't mean very much.

19 June 2017 Don't Rule Out a September Fed Hike, Watch the Labor Market Data (Publication Centre)

In the wake of last week's rate increase, the fed funds future puts the chance of another rise in September at just 16%. After hikes in December, March and June, we think the Fed is trying to tell us something about their intention to keep going; this is not 2015 or 2016, when the Fed happily accepted any excuse not to do what it had said it would do.

16 March 2017 The Fed Won't be Able to Dodge the Fiscal Policy Question in June (Publication Centre)

It might seem odd to describe a meeting at which the Fed raised rates for only the third time since 2006 as a holding operation, but that just about sums up yesterday's actions. The 25bp rate hike was fully anticipated; the forecasts for growth, inflation and interest rates were barely changed from December; and the Fed still expects a total of three hikes this year.

17 Mar. 2016 FOMC Rate Forecasts Rely on Wildly Implausible Inflation Hopes (Publication Centre)

The FOMC delivered no great surprises in the statement yesterday, but the new forecasts of both interest rates and inflation were, in our view, startlingly low. The stage is now set for an eventful few months as the tightening labor market and rising inflation force markets and policymakers to ramp up their expectations for interest rates.

14 December 2017 The Fed Expects Endless Growth and no Inflation, Maybe They're Right (Publication Centre)

The Fed surprised no-one by raising rates 25bp yesterday and leaving in place the median forecast for three hikes next year and two next year.

15 March 2017 Rates Will Rise by 25bp Today, but Extra Dots More Likely in June (Publication Centre)

The Fed will hike by 25 basis points today, citing the tightening labor market as the key reason to press ahead with the process of policy normalization. We think the case for adding an extra dot to the plot for both this year and next is powerful.

14 Dec. 2015 What Will Happen to the Dots After the Fed Raises Rates? (Publication Centre)

We have no argument with the consensus view that the language accompanying Wednesday's rate hike will be emollient. The FOMC likely will point out that the policy stance remains very accommodative, and seek to reinforce the idea that it intends to raise rates slowly. That said, recent FOMC statements have not offered any specific guidance on the pace of tightening, saying instead that the Fed "...will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals... 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."

14 July 2017 Core CPI Inflation Won't Fall Forever, but When Will the Rebound Come? (Publication Centre)

Today brings a huge wave of data, but most market attention will be on the June CPI, following the run of unexpectedly soft core readings over the past three months.

14 November. 2016 How Will the Fed React to Next Year's Inflationary Shock? (Publication Centre)

Markets are beginning to grasp that President-elect Trump's economic plans, if implemented in full--or anything like it--will constitute substantial inflationary shock to the U.S.

15 June. 2016 Fed on Hold, and Unlikely Clearly to Signal a July Hike (Publication Centre)

We expect the Fed to leave rates on hold today, but the FOMC's new forecasts likely will continue to show policymakers expect two hikes this year, unchanged from the March projections. We remain of the view that September is the more likely date for the next hike, because we think sluggish June payrolls will prevent action in July.

15 July. 2015 Should We Worry About Slower Retail Sales Growth? (Publication Centre)

Whichever way you choose to slice the numbers, retail sales growth has slowed this year. Ex-gasoline, ex-autos, core, whatever, sales growth in year-over-year terms is notably weaker now than at the end of last year. It is equally, true, however, that after-tax incomes have risen at a robust pace--up 3.8% in the year to May, exactly the same pace as in the year to May 2014--so consumers in aggregate have plenty of cash to spend. So, what's holding people back at the mall? Why aren't they spending more?

14 August 2017 July's Soft-Looking Core CPI was Different from Previous Weak Data (Publication Centre)

July's fifth straight undershoot to consensus in the core CPI was very different the previous four. Only one component--lodging away from home--prevented the first 0.2% month-to-month print since February.

BLOOMBERG - Markets are telling Yellen it's time to move (Media Centre)

Ian Shepherdson, founder at Pantheon Macroeconomics, and Jeff Saut, chief investment strategist at Raymond James, look forward to a potential Federal Reserve rate hike on December 16 and how markets and the U.S. economy may react in the year ahead.

14 Mar. 2016 Three Big Questions are the Key to the Fed's Actions this Year (Publication Centre)

A huge wave of data will break over markets this week, along with the FOMC meeting, new dot plots and Chair Yellen's press conference. But today is calm, with no significant data releases and no Fed speeches; policymakers are in purdah ahead of the meeting.

14 July. 2015 Did Retail Sales Stutter In June after May's Strength? (Publication Centre)

We are a bit uneasy about today's data on economic activity. The NFIB index of activity in the small business sector is likely to undershoot consensus expectations, while retail sales are something of a black hole, at least at the core level, where we have no reliable month-to-month advance indicators. Our bullish view on the underlying state of the economy, and its likely second-half performance, hasn't changed, but perceptions count in the short-term and these reports will help set the market mood just ahead of Chair Yellen's Testimony tomorrow.

14 Jan. 2016 Does Cost-Push Inflation Give the Fed the Luxury of Time? (Publication Centre)

In yesterday's Monitor we set out the risk that accelerating wages will force the Fed to raise rates more quickly than expected, but we didn't have space to address the underlying premise of this story, namely, the idea that inflation is largely a cost-push phenomenon. From the perspective of fixed income investors, it might not seem to matter whether this is a realistic description of the inflation process, because Fed Chair Yellen believes it wholeheartedly, and her hands are on the levers of monetary policy.

17 Dec. 2015 The Beginning of "Gradual" or the Start of the Next Big Fed Mistake? (Publication Centre)

The FOMC yesterday did what it had to do, and said what it had to say. The super-doves were kicked into line, with a unanimous vote, though two members' blue dots showed they think rates should not have been raised. In our view, though, Dr. Yellen's avowed intention to raise rates gradually sits uneasily with her--correct--assertion that policy remains very accommodative, bearing in mind that the unemployment rate is now at the Fed's estimate of the Nairu, while evidence of accelerating wage gains is burgeoning.

U.S. Webinar - Oct 2017 (Publication Centre)

Yellen's Patience is Running Out..Rates to Rise Sharply Next Year

*October 2017 - U.S.. Economic Chartbook* (Publication Centre)

Yellen's inner hawk escapes...Expect a December hike, and four more next year

27 Feb. 2015 External Positions Highlight The Brazil-Mexico Performance Gap (Publication Centre)

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's testimony this week reinforced our view that the first U.S. rate hike will be in June. The transition to higher U.S. rates will require an unpleasant adjustment in asset prices in some LatAm countries.

23 Feb. 2015 What if the Terminal Rate is Higher than the Fed Thinks? (Publication Centre)

A thought, ahead of Chair Yellen's Testimony tomorrow. Conventional wisdom has it that the terminal Fed funds rate in this cycle will b e much lower than in the past--the Fed thinks 3¾%, compared to 5.25% in 2007, and 6.5% in 2000--reflecting the long-lasting legacy of the crash, particularly in household balance sheets.

22 Dec. 2014 - Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting for the Great Housing Rebound (Publication Centre)

Fed Chair Yellen said in her press conference last week that she has "...been surprised that housing hasn't recovered more robustly than it has. In part I think it reflects very tight credit--continuing tight credit conditions for any borrower that doesn't have really pristine credit... my hope is that that situation will ease over time".

21 July 2017 What to Look for from the Fed and the Data Over the next Two Weeks (Publication Centre)

Chair Yellen remains as committed as ever to the idea that the tightening labor market will eventually push up inflation, but the unexpectedly weak core CPI readings for the past four months have complicated the picture in the near-term.

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