The Federal Reserve is set to release the minutes from its January FOMC meeting on Wednesday, and market participants are sure to closely sift through them for any clues about the future of quantitative easing.
“The minutes are going to be important, and there’s always some morsel that people tend to gravitate toward,” said Deutsche Bank’s chief US economist, Joseph Lavorgna. “My guess is that in these minutes, it will relate to the outlook.”
For any group that relies on economic data to determine its next move, this is a difficult time. Two straight employment reports have shown markedly weak gains in nonfarm payrolls (113,000 in January and a marginally adjusted 75,000 in December) but the extent to which bad weather adversely impacted those numbers is being rigorously debated.
New Fed Chair Janet Yellen, for one, told the House Committee on Financial Services on Tuesday that she was “surprised by the weak jobs reports in December and January, but we have to be careful not to jump to conclusions when interpreting what those reports mean—there were weather factors—we’ve had unseasonably cold temperatures that may be affecting economic activity in the jobs market and elsewhere. The Committee will meet in March. We will have a broad range of data on the economy to look at, including another jobs report.”