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The FOMC on Future Interest Rates


According to committee members, we should not expect to see a significant change in monetary policy until 2015.

As my firm observed in its January Market Overview Report, the taper ghost is here. What does it mean for 2014?

In terms of asset purchases, monetary policy was, is, and will be accommodative. More importantly, so is the case with interest rates, which are still flirting with zero-percent range -- despite the fact that that lowering was believed by some to be temporary. I remember that even in 2009, there were people seriously arguing that we should expect interest rate hikes in few months. History has proven them to be astonishingly wrong.

The continuous message from the Fed is that even with asset adjustments, the rates are supposed to stay low until official inflation becomes a danger, or unemployment is finally significantly lower. That is all fine; we understand the signal, but we are also curious as to when Fed officials expect this will happen. When do they expect either much lower unemployment, or endangering inflation rates -- the point at which the interest rates are raised again? Interestingly, we received some additional information on this at the end of year 2013.

In general, Fed officials are seeing interest rate hikes on the horizon, but not on the near horizon. Here is the graph depicting interest rate levels in 2014, according to FOMC members:

Only two members of the Committee believe that interest rates will be raised slightly to 0.75, or 1.25. The rest of the FOMC, 15 members, believe that interest rates will be staying at their current level at least for another year until 2015. Therefore, you know what to expect in 2014, at least for the next few months: more cheap monetary policy.

Things may change in 2015, since that is when most members anticipate the hike happening.

In any case, as you can see, the possible backing away from very low interest rates is the topic to be discussed at the end of our new year. For now, it is out of the question. Interest rates are to remain low for the months to come. Therefore, do not expect to see big changes in monetary policy. The asset-buying program remains in place, although slightly shaken (mostly by hot words coming out of few experts' mouths); the record low interest rates are not going away soon.

What does it signal for the gold market? You all know it. Cheap monetary policy is a good fundamental variable boosting the demand for dollar alternatives -- gold and silver.

Matt Machaj, PhD, is an economist whose research is focused on the monetary policy, the gold standard, and alternative monetary regimes. Matt is a university professor, blogger, publicist, founder of the Polish Mises Institute branch, member of Property and Freedom Society, and laureate of Lawrence Fertig Award.

For the full version of this essay and more, visit Sunshine Profits' website.

Twitter: @SunshineProfits
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