FOMC Meeting Concludes and Fed Stays the Course

November 8, 2018 - 4:42pm

 by Gary Wagner

This afternoon the Federal Reserve concluded this month’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Immediately following the conclusion of today’s meeting, the Fed released a statement. There was no press conference held after the meeting. However, Chairman Powell has stated that next year every meeting will conclude with a press conference.

“The labor market has continued to strengthen and ... economic activity has been rising at a strong rate.”

As anticipated, the statement that was released confirmed that the Federal Reserve will hold interest rates steady and said that ongoing strong job gains and household spending have kept the U.S. economy on track. Currently, the Fed has its benchmark target for interest rates (Fed funds rate) at 2% to 2.25%.

The statement also confirmed that there is a high probability that they will move forward with one more rate hike this year which will be announced at the conclusion of the December FOMC meeting. “The Committee expects further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate.”

The tone of today’s statement was very much in line with the existing Federal Reserve’s monetary policies. In fact, the only change from the last statement released by the Fed was that members noted that “the growth of business investment had moderated in the third quarter.”

According to the CME’s FedWatch tool, the probability remains high that there will be one more rate hike in December. This tool is predicting that there is a 71.4% probability that there will be a quarter percent increase in the Fed funds rate, a 6.4% probability that there will be a half a percent rate hike and a 22.2% probability that the Federal Reserve will leave rates unchanged in December.

The dollar had been trading 50 points higher prior to the release of today’s statement and then strengthened immediately following the release of the statement. As of 4:30 PM Eastern standard time, the dollar index is currently up 0.73% and fixed at 96.50.

Dollar strength contributed to weakness in gold pricing today with gold futures currently trading down $4.60 at $1,224.10. Spot gold is currently fixed at $1,222.90, which is a net decline of $3.20 on the day. On closer inspection, we can see that market participants are actually buying the precious metal today bidding gold prices higher by $3.30, however after factoring in dollar strength which amounts to $6.50, we get the net result of gold losing $3.20 on the day.

Wishing as always, good trading,

Gary S. Wagner - Executive Producer