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Fed Outlook On Trump Economy: [Shrug Emoji]

It's too early too tell whether Trump's economy will be great, really great, or a trade-war shitshow, Fed minutes say.
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Fed minutes released Wednesday confirmed that the basic outlook on Trump's economy from the nation's top central bankers remains: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

The word "uncertain" or some form of it appears fifteen times in the text of the minutes, taken during the Fed's December 13-14 meeting. Though Trump's name didn't appear, it was all kind of basically about him.

“Participants emphasized their considerable uncertainty about the timing, size, and composition of any future fiscal and other economic policy initiatives,” the minutes said, recalling Fed Chair Janet Yellen's exceedingly cautious December press conference. It was “too early to know what changes in these policies would be implemented and how such changes might alter the economic outlook.”

But if they had to go out on a limb, most of the FOMC participants felt that the policies that are likely to be implemented – tax cuts, regulatory relief, etc – could be stimulative for the economy, potentially warranting quicker rate hikes.

Though there might be some hiccups:

Some contacts thought that their businesses could benefit from possible changes in federal spending, tax, and regulatory policies while others were uncertain about the outlook for significant government policy changes or were concerned that their businesses might be adversely affected by some of the proposals under discussion.

As anyone who has had the pleasure of regularly reading them knows, Fed minutes are plotted like a good thriller, so we won't get the chance to learn what those adverse effects might be until the next chapter is released in February. But there's a good chance the potential drawbacks mentioned above relate to the sort of protectionist trade policies Trump and his appointees have promised.

Notably, however, the Fed devotes essentially zero attention to a possible trade war – arguably making the same mistake that investors have in largely downplaying Trump's very real trade ambitions. But then again: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.



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