Transitory inflation is dead. Yesterday the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), Fed’s monetary policy body, has definitively dropped the adjective “transitory” from its monetary policy stance. Although leaving interest rates on hold, Jerome Powell signalled that the FED would be ramp up its tapering programme with expected end in March 2022. The Federal Reserve has also amended its forecast for US GDP growth in 2021 from +5.9 percent in September to +5.5 percent. According to the Fed’s press conference, the Omicron variant indeed poses risks to the outlook, but the Fed Chairman Jerome Powell emphasized that the economy is strong enough for tapering to continue on its path.
Beginning in January 2022, asset purchases will be limited to $60 billion in bonds (down from $120 billion per month under the original Quantitative Easing plan launched in 2020 to combat the effects of the Covid pandemic). Also, according to the FOMC dot plot, Fed officials foresee three rate hikes next year instead of a single hike while the Fed has left fed funds rates in a range of zero to 0.25% this time.
“Economic developments and changes in the outlook support this evolution of monetary policy, which will continue to provide appropriate support to the economy,” Powell said following the FOMC announcement. According to the announcement, rates will remain unchanged “until labour market conditions have reached levels consistent with the Commission’s assessments of maximum employment.”
Yesterday on Wall Street, the Dow Jones rose 383 points (over 1%) to 35,927, the Nasdaq rose 2.15 % to 15,565 points, while the S&P 500 rose 1.63 % to around 4,709 points.
Following the Fed’s announcement, Asian equities were mixed. Tokyo climbed 2.13 % to 29,066.32, boosted primarily by purchases of automotive stocks such as Nissan, which rose about 4%. The Hong Kong stock exchange is down -0.31 %, Shanghai is up +0.58 %, Sydney is down -0.43 %, and Seoul is up +0.49 %.
Europe is in the green this morning waiting for the ECB to issue its monetary policy this afternoon.