Intraday Market Thoughts

Fed's 2023 Special, BoE Thinks Negative

by Adam Button
Sep 17, 2020 14:04

The Fed didn't tell us much we didn't already know about the near-term but Powell laid out a 2023 vision that paints a powerful picture. Sterling was slammed across the board after the Bank of England announced it is exploring the mechanics of implementing negative interest rates. Below are some of the message Ashraf sent to the WhatsApp Broadcast Group ahead of and during Powell's press conference. The paramaters from Sep 4th DOW30 trade held on and so did the FX trades. 

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Fed's 2023 Special, BoE Thinks Negative - Whatsapp Fomc Sep 2020 (Chart 1)

The FOMC decision and communication were in line with expectations. There were tweaks to incorporate average inflation targeting and the 2020 growth estimate was boosted. Markets expressed some disappointed when the Fed didn't offer any hints at more QE or other easing, except to say that it retained tools in the toolbox.

The short-term market reaction is understandable but it's ultimately the long-term vision that will win out. The Fed's 2023 forecasts and dots were all new. They showed 4.0% unemployment, 2.5% GDP growth, 2.0% core PCE inflation and 13 of 17 policymakers said they still expected to have interest rates at zero at the end of that year.

Ashraf tells me to start focusing on US 5-year break-even rates (now at 1.55%) and a possible H&S formation in this little-noticed rate. 

Forecasts change but the Fed's vision is clear: There will be no rate hikes even when the pandemic is forgotten and the economy is relatively strong. The 2023 economy that Powell laid out is similar to what we saw in 2019 – a year with 2.2% growth, 1.7% inflation and 3.7% unemployment. The big difference is that the Fed funds rate was 1.5% and the Fed's balance sheet was half its current size.

The picture the Fed paints of 2023 is paradise for risk assets, emerging market currencies, precious metals and commodities. It would argue for massive leveraging at ultra-cheap rates.

In the shorter term, there are undoubtedly mixed messages. The August US retail sales report missed estimates with core sales down 0.1% as the prior was also revised lower. At the same time, home builder sentiment jumped to a record and a US HHS official said the country could be vaccinated in April.



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