With the Fed’s critical July meeting – where equity bulls hope to see the central bank deliver the 50 bp cut to the Fed funds rate that President Trump has demanded – just weeks away, Fed Chairman Fed Powell will sit for his biannual testimony before Congress this week, starting with the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.
His testimony begins at 10 am. Watch it live below:
Powell’s opening remarks, released at around 8:30 am on Wednesday morning, left analysts with the impression that a July cut is still very much on the table despite Friday’s robust jobs report. The consensus was that Powell sounded very dovish, and equity futures spiked in response, and have remained in the green ahead of the open.
As one analyst pointed out, if Powell was looking to push back against the notion that the Fed will cut rates at the FOMC’s meeting later this month, this was his chance to do it. And the fact that he didn’t is significant. Since the release, Morgan Stanley has called for a 50 bp rate cut to save the ‘faltering economy’, and July rate-cut odds have tricked higher.
Another said it’s remarkable how little Friday’s jobs report had impacted Powell’s economic view. That, and a spate of other stronger-than-expected data over the past month, have helped spark a turnaround in Citi’s economic surprise index.
Powell’s key comments, via Bloomberg:
Baseline case is still for solid growth and for labor market to stay strong but notes uncertainties have increased in recent months
Notes many officials at June FOMC saw stronger case for somewhat easier monetary policy
Powell points to risk weak inflation may prove more persistent, says inflation pressures remain muted
Says housing investment and manufacturing look to have dipped again in 2q
Then again, there’s still plenty of time in the Q&A both on Wednesday and on Thursday (when Powell will appear before the Senate Banking Committee) for Powell to misstep (like he’s done a few times in the not too distant past) or for Democrats – Maxine Waters is the chairwoman of the committee, and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who has criticized the central bank in the past and has been one of the loudest advocates for ‘Modern Monetary Theory’ – to aggressively push back against the Fed’s dovish turn, which would risk turning the fate of the central bank’s monetary policy into a political dogfight.
Summing it all up perfectly:
— StockCats (@StockCats) July 10, 2019
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Read Powell’s prepared remarks in full below: