“There is quite significant uncertainty about what’s actually going to happen, I don’t think anyone quite knows what’s going to come out of the process which involves both the administration and Congress in the deciding of fiscal policy and a variety of other things.” Fischer said in response to audience questions about the Fed’s next steps. “At the moment we are going strictly according to what we see as our responsibility according to law.”
Traders have echoed Fischer’s confusion, with the Trump rally sputtering in on-again, off-again mode in recent weeks, demanding details about Trump’s various economic policies. Following the December rate hike, Fed officials have given no indication on the timing of their next hike in response to improvements in the U.S. economy, which however have manifested mostly in the area of “soft” indicators, such as sentiment and confidence surves. In recent days, even these have started to roll over, as the Trump honeymoon slowly ends and the euphoria over the Trump victory – mostly among Republicans as the latest UMichigan consumer sentiment survey showed – begins to fade.
Of course, “confusion” at the Fed is a sobering and welcome change from its traditional stance of being “certain” about the future, if constantly wrong.
Ironically, none other than the Fed’s own James Bullard trolled his institution, commenting on the Fed’s chronic inability to accurately predict the future and be consistently wrong in its forecasts in a speech on Friday laying out his “2017 Outlook for U.S. Monetary Policy.”
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