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Confusion In The Air After Fed Minutes

FOMC TO START BALANCE SHEET DEBATE AT UPCOMING MEETINGS MOST FED OFFICIALS JUDGED GRADUAL RATE HIKE PACE APPROPRIATE FOMC SEES DOWNSIDE RISK FROM STRONG DOLLAR

Well, it’s been something of a roller coaster day for rates and USDJPY (even if the range has been tight).

At 10:38 EST, we got the latest news out of France which suggests that an alliance between centrist François Bayrou and Emmanuel Macron may serve to lessen Marine Le Pen’s chances of ascending to the French Presidency.

That promptly led to selling in safe havens as German yields popped along with 10Y Treasury yields, then at 1:00 we got a lackluster, tailing 5Y auction that sent rates and USDJPY a bit higher still, and now it looks like the headline-scanning algos are feeling a bit dovish about the Fed minutes. Here are the highlights:

  • FOMC TO START BALANCE SHEET DEBATE AT UPCOMING MEETINGS
  • MOST FED OFFICIALS JUDGED GRADUAL RATE HIKE PACE APPROPRIATE
  • FOMC SEES DOWNSIDE RISK FROM STRONG DOLLAR
  • MANY FED OFFICIALS SAW HIKE `FAIRLY SOON’ IF ECONOMY ON TRACK
  • MANY FED VOTERS SAW ONLY MODEST RISK OF SIGNIFICANT INFLATION
  • EUR SETS NEW HIGH ABOVE 1.0570 AS USD DROPS AFTER FOMC MINUTES

I’d say it was probably the bolded bit that did it, but whatever the case, here’s the end result:

Minutes.png

Don’t forget what Bloomberg’s Richard Breslow said earlier this morning:

It’s unclear to me how we get from the dovish statement released three weeks ago to a hawkish retelling of the event.

Indeed, Richard. Indeed.

More via Bloomberg:

FOMC participants saw number of risks that might call for taking different policy path than currently thought, such as possibility of “appreciably more” expansionary fiscal policy or further appreciation of USD, minutes of Jan. 31-Feb. 1 meeting show.

  • Upside risks included more rapid buildup of inflationary pressures
  • Downside risks included financial vulnerabilities in some overseas economies, along with proximity of fed funds rate to effective lower bound
  • Most on FOMC continued to see heightened uncertainty regarding size, composition and timing of any changes to fiscal policies and other govt policies
  • Downward pressure on longer-term rates exerted by Fed’s asset holdings seen as diminishing in years ahead, given anticipated reduction in size and duration of balance sheet
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