USD: Trading The FOMC Dots – Deutsche Bank

The Fed will maintain maximum ‘optionality’ to hike rates in coming meetings, making it clear that coming meetings are ‘live’, but the hiking path will be ‘gradual’, ’data dependent’ and less predictable than the last tightening cycle, says Deutsche Bank.

“The most revealing part of the Q&A may revolve around Yellen’s comments on whether the Fed will put more weight on inflation/inflation expectations now that the Fed has finally got off ‘zero’,” DB adds.

“The FOMC dots, particularly for the end of 2016, will play an inordinate role in how the market initially responds to the FOMC headlines. There is market talk of some small (25bp) trimming in prospective rate hikes, with the median dot shifting to three rather than the four hikes in 2016.

IF the 2016 median dots do come down by 25bps, the USD is apt to immediately slip. In contrast, even if the 2018, and longer-run median dot comes down by 25bps as seems likely, if the 2016 dots don’t come down this will limit the Fed’s ability to convey this first hike as ‘a dovish hike’ and the USD ‘headline’ response will be positive. The economic outlook has not changed much so there is a real danger the 2016 dots are not as dovish as the market hopes.

Nonetheless a post-meeting holiday season positive risk ‘relief trade’ is eventually likely, on a view that a first hike in 9 years went off without too much market turmoil, and that another Fed hike is unlikely before March,” DB argues.

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