The Federal Reserve foresees the economy accelerating quickly this year yet still expects to keep its benchmark interest rate pinned near zero through 2023, despite concerns in financial markets about potentially higher inflation.
With its brightening outlook, the Fed on Wednesday significantly upgraded its forecasts for growth and inflation. It now envisions the economy expanding 6.5% this year, up sharply from its previous projection in December of 4.2%. And the Fed raised its forecast for inflation by the end of this year from 1.8% to 2.4% after years of chronically low inflation.
On Wall Street, investors registered their approval of the Fed’s low-rate message, sending stock indexes higher. And the closely watched yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which has surged in recent weeks on inflation concerns, declined slightly.
Still, the Fed’s upgraded forecasts will raise questions about what would cause it eventually to raise its key short-term rate, which affects many consumer and business loans. As the economy strengthens, the policymakers think the unemployment rate will drop more quickly than they did in December: They foresee unemployment falling from its current 6.2% to 4.5% by year’s end and to 3.9%, near a healthy level, at the end of 2022.
That suggests that the central bank will be close to meeting its goals by 2023, when it expects inflation to exceed its 2% target level and for unemployment to be at 3.5%. Yet it still doesn’t project a rate hike then.”
Comment: We are going to ride a flood of funny money to enormous prosperity and very high market levels. The DJIA closed above 33,000 today and that is just the beginning. IMO the Fed’s estimate of the ultimate levels of inflation is far too low, but the ride up before the crest is reached will be breathtaking. pl
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