Tags: Goldman Sachs | Federal Reserve | Jan Hatzius | Stephen Stanley

Goldman Sachs: 4 Things to Look for in Fed's Economic Outlook

By    |   Tuesday, 17 March 2015 11:00 AM

Goldman Sachs said the Federal Reserve tomorrow will provide several clues about its plans to raise interest rates, which isn’t likely until the central bank’s September meeting.

The Fed hasn’t initiated a rate-hike cycle since 2004, when the U.S. economy was growing by 6 percent to 7 percent a year, compared with 2.2 percent now. Rates have been near zero percent since 2008 as the central bank has tried to stimulate a recovery from the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression.

Goldman’s economic team led by Jan Hatzius said the Federal Open Market Committee is likely to remove the word “patient” from its statement about the economic outlook. The central bank has said it would remain patient on changes to monetary policy until it saw signs of an improving economy.

“The March statement should offer a number of clues about the outlook for Fed policy,” Goldman said in a March 13 report obtained by Newsmax Finance. “We expect four key changes.”

Those changes are:

  • The Federal Reserve’s economic growth estimate is likely to soften, especially as the U.S. dollar strengthens compared with other currencies.
  • Estimates of the long-term unemployment rate are likely to decline.
  • Inflation forecasts are likely to be cut significantly for 2015, and by a small amount for 2016.
  • Estimates for interest rates, as indicated in a dot plot of forecasts by members of the FOMC, are likely to decline modestly. The median estimate for rates by the end of 2015 is likely to fall 0.25 percentage points to a range of 0.75 percent to 1.00 percent.

Goldman’s outlook for a decline in the inflation rate to 1.1 percent from 1.3 percent by mid-year means that a rate hike is most likely in September.

Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont, estimates a rate hike at the Fed’s June meeting as inflation shows signs of reaching 2 percent.

He said Fed Chair Janet Yellen likely will re-emphasize that inflation target at her press conference following the release of the statement tomorrow.

“Presuming that ‘patient’ is removed from the statement,” Stanley said in a March 16 report obtained by Newsmax Finance. “Janet Yellen’s main job at the press conference this week will be to explain how the Fed will proceed without the safety net of forward guidance locking it in.”

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Goldman Sachs said the Federal Reserve tomorrow will provide several clues about its plans to raise interest rates, which isn't likely until the central bank's September meeting.
Goldman Sachs, Federal Reserve, Jan Hatzius, Stephen Stanley
Tuesday, 17 March 2015 11:00 AM
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