Yellen removes another obstacle to an eventual rate hike

Get ready for a central bank without patience.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday is widely expected to remove its pledge to be “patient” in raising short-term interest rates, giving them the flexibility to move as soon as June.

This may be the most anticipated Fed meeting in some time as it fundamentally changes policy to a meeting-by-meeting calculation. The Fed has not hiked rates since 2006, and it has kept rates at zero since December 2008 .

The Fed will release its policy statement on Wednesday at 2 p.m. Eastern along with its latest economic forecast and the projected interest rate path of the 17 officials. A press conference with Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen will follow at 2:30 p.m.

Fed watchers said Yellen telegraphed the Fed policy committee;s intentions in her Congressional testimony last month. Read Yellen removes another obstacle to an eventual rate hike.

“I would be shocked if ‘patient’ is not removed,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics. “Patient” meant the Fed would not raise rates for two meetings. With formal policy deliberations scheduled for late April and June, the pledge needed to go if a June move was to be on the table.

“Enough Fed officials have said they want to have the debate about hiking rates at the June meeting, so it has to come out,” Ryding said.

Market Watch

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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Market Analyst - UK & EMEA at OANDA
Based in London, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With many years of experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while producing macroeconomic commentary. His views have been published in the Financial Times, Reuters, The Telegraph and the International Business Times, and he also appears as a regular guest commentator on the BBC, Bloomberg TV, FOX Business and BNN. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and is recognised as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.
Craig Erlam