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United States Federal Reserve Minutes: Fed in Wait-and-See Mood

  • The Federal Reserve released late Wednesday the minutes of the June 11-12 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting.
  • At the June meeting, policymakers maintained rates at the target range of 5.25%-5.5% for a seventh straight time.

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    The Federal Reserve has shown a cautious stance on rate policy for months. If investors were looking for some clarity about the future rate path from the minutes, they walked away disappointed. There is little chance of a rate cut at the July 31 meeting but things get tricky afterwards, with a 66% likelihood of a rate cut in September, according to CME’s FedWatch.

    The minutes stated that “price pressures were diminishing” and noted the weak May consumer price index report as well as a slowdown in wage growth. At the same time, Fed officials did not feel it was appropriate to lower rates until there was additional data which would give them “greater confidence that inflation was moving sustainably toward” the 2% inflation target. This message was practically a copy of what Fed Chair Jerome Powell said at the European Central Bank forum in Portugal earlier this week.  

    The takeaway from the minutes is that inflation is moving down the deflationary path but the Fed needs to see more evidence that inflation will continue to fall before it is ready to lower interest rates. Inflation rose unexpectedly early in the year and Fed policy makers want to avoid at all costs a scenario in which a rate cut triggers a rebound in inflation.

    US Dollar Edges Lower, S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 Climb Higher 

    The US dollar posted slight losses against the major currencies immediately following the Federal Reserve minutes. The USD/JPY currency pair recorded the sharpest losses, falling as much as 0.57% before recovering half of those losses.

    The S&P 500 Index hit a record high and the Nasdaq 100 recorded strong gains on Wednesday as investors are hopeful that the Fed will cut rates one or two times this year due to weaker economic data.

    The stock market closed ahead of the release of the FOMC minutes and is closed on Thursday for the Fourth of July holiday.

    The S&P 500 Index rose 28.01 points (0.51%) to end at 5,537.02, a record close.

    The Nasdaq 100 Index climbed 174.74 points (0.87%) to end at 20,186.63.

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    Kenny Fisher
    About Kenny Fisher
    Kenny started his career in forex working in the sales and marketing department at a major forex broker and has worked as a market analyst for 12 years. With a legal editing background, Kenny has combined his writing skills and finance expertise to produce top-quality articles. Kenny covers a wide range of topics, including global stock markets, commodities and currencies, with focus on fundamental and macro-economic analysis. Kenny’s articles have been carried by Oanda,, Seeking Alpha and FXStreet. Kenny holds a Bachelor of Law from Ogoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada.

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