Fed Leaves Rates Steady In Yellen's Last Meeting As Chair

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They have wrapped up their final policy meeting under current chair Janet Yellen. He takes the central bank's helm as businesses appear to be increasing investment amid an economic upswing that has broadened to other advanced economies. The Fed has penciled in three interest-rate increases this year. The TD Economics report is available here.

SEB Research discusses the reaction to today's FOMC statement for the January policy meeting in which the Fed maintained the target range for the federal funds rate at 1.25-1.50 per cent.

As Jerome Powell prepares to take over as chairman of the Federal Reserve on February 5, some of his colleagues are publicly agitating for a radical rethink of the central bank's playbook for guiding monetary policy.

This was an important development: the Fed had never worked its way out of a rock-bottom rate stance before, and Yellen had seen firsthand during the 2013 Taper Tantrum how edgy and volatile markets could be when the Fed signaled that it was drawing back any amount of the enormous support it had deployed to stabilize the economy.

He said: "Jerome Powell will inherit a Fed steadily tightening policy into a United States economy expanding at a solid 2.5% clip with the unemployment rate at an nearly two-decade low and inflation below its 2% target". The yield on the 10-year US Treasury was at 2.73 percent, compared to 2.93 percent for New Zealand's 10-year government bond. The central bank said it would continue to "carefully monitor" inflation.

Fed governors are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, a similar process to Supreme Court judges.

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Supporters of this approach include Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, former central bank Vice Chairman Alan Blinder, and Charles Plosser, former president of the Philadelphia Fed.

"If inflation moves higher then the chances of a fourth rate hike go up".

That change of language will fuel expectations that the U.S. central bank could raise the key lending rate more than the expected three times this year. If the Fed raises rates, it would be the sixth consecutive quarterly tightening of monetary policy. She was also the first woman to lead the Fed, which was founded in 1913.

"During her term as Chair, Janet Yellen has been more successful than any of her predecessors in the modern era in meeting the Fed's employment and inflation targets, all the more surprising that she is also the first Fed Chair not to be re-appointed for a second 4-year term".

Powell, who has served on the Fed board with Yellen since 2012, ended his remarks by popping the collar of his suit jacket.

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