Fed Meeting Today: What to Expect

If setting monetary policy is like a marathon, a pause now is like stopping for a water break — to stretch and take stock — rather than giving up on running altogether. Fed officials have been clear that while they may hit pause temporarily, they could lift rates again if needed.

“A decision to hold our policy rate constant at a coming meeting should not be interpreted to mean that we have reached the peak rate for this cycle,” Philip Jefferson, a Fed governor who is President Biden’s pick to be the central bank’s next vice chair, said in a speech last month. Instead, Mr. Jefferson said, skipping would “allow the committee to see more data.”

Tuesday’s inflation data probably kept officials on track to hold policy steady in June while teeing up a July increase, said Sarah Watt House, senior economist at Wells Fargo.

“They are going to have to walk a very fine line,” she said. “The U.S. economy continues to carry some pretty formidable momentum.”

Every three months, the Fed releases a set of projections — the “dot plot” — that shows where each official expects interest rates to land by the end of the next few years. (The predictions are anonymous and are demarcated by little blue spots, hence the name.)

The dots come out alongside a set of projections for unemployment, inflation and growth. They will be released on Wednesday for the first time since March.

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