With the Federal Reserve’s minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) July 30-31 policy meeting scheduled for release on Wednesday afternoon, Keith Bliss, senior vice president and director of sales & marketing at Cuttone & Co., Inc., spoke with the International Business Times from the New York Stock Exchange about what to watch for in the minutes, and whether the financial markets have priced in a possible tapering of quantitative easing by the Fed in September.
“I think they’ve [the market] gotten used to it,” said Bliss. “Whether they’ve priced it in fully or not is the subject of debated that we’ve been having a lot down here lately. I don’t think that the market’s fully priced it in.”
In late May, global markets turned volatile after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank planned to scale back its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program once the economy saw “substantial improvement.”
The statement released after the Fed’s July policy meeting said the U.S. economy was expanding at a “modest” pace, a change from the “moderate” pace seen in June.
“Remember the taper is all about the quantitative easing. It’s not about the short-term rates, which they’re going to keep at zero,” Bliss said. “They’ve announced they’re going to keep it near zero until 2015, but I think they’ve priced in a little bit of the taper. If we get a full on ‘Hey we’re going to take it down by 40 billion dollars, or 30 billion dollars per month,’ then we’ll see a pretty dramatic market reaction.”
As investors look to September as a possible timetable for when the central bank will begin to scale back its asset purchasing program, Bliss emphasized what to watch for in the minutes, which could give clues as to when the Fed will begin tapering.
“The FOMC meeting minutes are going to be interesting from the standpoint that they’re not going to differ from the statement that they issued when they had the last meeting in July, but what is going to be interesting is I want to see if the tenor has changed inside the meeting minutes,” said Bliss. “It appears to all of us that the hawks have started to regain control about the QE debates, meaning, even though he’s a non-voting member, Dallas Fed President Fisher seems to have a bigger voice when we’re talking about tapering or not tapering. I think we’ll see the change in that demeanor inside of the FOMC when the meeting minutes are released on Wednesday.”
The FOMC will release the minutes from its latest meeting at 2 p.m. EST on Wednesday.