Oct 10, 2019

The Fed's September rate cut now looks even more controversial

Fed chairman Jerome Powell.

Minutes from the Fed's September policy meeting were released Wednesday, showing there was likely more opposition to its rate cut than just the 2 dissenting votes that were cast.

Details: The minutes showed debate had grown about when the Fed should stop cutting rates and "several members" wanted to keep rates on hold.

  • The term "several" also was used to describe the number of officials who believed recent data showed inflation was nearing the Fed's target.
  • "A few" officials said they believed the market was pricing in too much policy easing from the Fed.

Be smart: One thing has become abundantly clear after the release of the Fed's minutes and Chairman Jerome Powell's speech in Denver on Tuesday: The Fed is going to start buying U.S. Treasury bills.

  • "Bill purchases seem like a near certainty, and the size of the net buying could be in the hundreds of billions of dollars over the next year and a half," Bob Miller, BlackRock’s head of Americas fundamental fixed income, said in a note.

Go deeper: The world according to Jerome Powell

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Federal Reserve's "pause lite" is the latest stock market lift

Federal Reserve Board chairman Jerome Powell announces a rate cut at a news conference on Oct. 30, in Washington. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Fed chair Jerome Powell almost rocked the boat during the FOMC's October press conference on Wednesday after announcing a third straight cut to U.S. interest rates.

What happened: Powell initially said it would take a “material reassessment” in the outlook for the Fed to change its view that no further rate cuts were needed. But minutes later he reversed course, saying that holding rates at their current levels would be appropriate as long as the outlook stayed within the Fed’s expectations.

Go deeperArrowOct 30, 2019

The Federal Reserve's amazing pause

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Fed Chair Jerome Powell almost rocked the boat during the FOMC's October press conference on Wednesday after announcing a third straight cut to U.S. interest rates.

What happened: Powell initially said it would take a "material reassessment" in the outlook for the Fed to change its view that no further rate cuts were needed — but minutes later he reversed course, saying that holding rates at their current levels would be appropriate as long as the outlook stayed within the Fed’s expectations.

Go deeperArrowOct 31, 2019

Fed’s Kashkari pushes back against Trump pressure

Images: The Image Bank/Getty Images and John Lamparski/Contributor/Getty; Illustration: Axios Visuals

As the Federal Reserve signals it may cut interest rates again later this month, Minneapolis Fed president Neel Kashkari says the central bank is tuning out calls by President Trump to do more to support the economy — and relying on the strength of the data it collects to justify its moves.

Why it matters: Trump’s attempts to strong-arm the Fed, which has already slashed borrowing costs twice this year, have grown more frequent in recent weeks — and put the central bank on the defensive about its apolitical posture.

Go deeperArrowOct 11, 2019