Investors bristled after Janet Yellen emerged from her first meeting as Federal Reserve chairwoman with some unsettling signals about the central bank’s outlook for short-term interest rates.
The Fed intends to keep short-term rates near zero into next year, but investors sniffed out signs that rate increases might come a bit sooner and be a touch more aggressive than expected….
In a press conference after the meeting, Ms. Yellen suggested that interest-rate increases might come about six months after the bond-buying program ends—a conclusion that could come this fall. She offered that projection with many caveats, but some investors took it as a sign that the Fed could start raising interest rates sooner than expected.
“This could have been a rookie gaffe on Yellen’s part,” Paul Edelstein, director of financial economists at IHS Global Insight, said in a note to clients. “This was, after all, her first press conference.”
The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis was the lone dissenter Wednesday as the Fed tweaked its guidance on future interest rates.
Narayana Kocherlakota, who became a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee this year, said part of the new statement undermines the credibility of the Fed’s commitment to move inflation toward a 2 percent target and “fosters policy uncertainty that hinders economic activity.”
Yellen Debut Rattles Markets [WSJ]
Minneapolis Fed chief dissents as rate outlook shifts [Star Tribune]