One day after Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen addressed speculation about a rate hike in December, other Fed officials and international policy makers are set to meet in New York to discuss global financial systems. A rate hike, regardless of its timing, will be a significant change in the Fed's policy stance, which has kept interests at record lows since the global financial crisis struck in 2008.
New York Fed President William Dudley, Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde are scheduled to speak at the New York Fed conference Thursday. Their speeches will be closely scrutinized to see if they agree with Yellen’s testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, where she reiterated her stance on a December rate hike, and called it “a live possibility.”
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Dudley has spoken out in favor of a rate hike in December, if economic data pointed to an improvement in the labor market and an uptick in inflation. However, Dudley -- who is a close ally of Yellen -- did not address the current state of U.S. monetary policy in his remarks, but is likely to do so in his speech Thursday.
“The Federal Reserve has a dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability. While these mandates are expressed at an aggregate national level, it is important for policymakers to understand how they impact different groups of individuals across the country,” Dudley said Wednesday, adding that in addition to monitoring macroeconomic conditions in the country, “micro-level” economic data should also be closely understood.
The spotlight will also be on Lagarde to see if she addresses the issue of a potential rate hike by the Fed during her discussion with Fischer Thursday, and if so, whether her stance has changed since September, when the IMF chief urged the Fed to not rush its decision.
“The IMF thinks that it is better to make sure that the data are absolutely confirmed, that there is no uncertainty, neither on the front of price stability, nor on the front of employment and unemployment, before it actually makes that move [of raising the interest rates],” Lagarde said, in September.
Many emerging market economies that are reeling under the impact China's slowdown is having on their growth outlook, are concerned that a rate hike by the U.S. Fed would trigger large outflows of capital into dollar-denominated assets, creating a market turmoil that would further hurt growth.