The next Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting is scheduled to take place in March. The FOMC will be meeting on March 21 and 22 to decide on the next course of action on a rate hike by the Federal Reserve. The rate hike decision in March will be announced on March 22.
March 22 Fed rate hike decision date is also important as the FOMC will also release the Summary of Economic Projections. The economic projections pave the way for understanding the Federal Reserve’s so-called dot plot, which the central bank uses to signal its outlook for the path of interest rates, based on median projections. These projections help economists, analysts, and investors to take cues while making investment decisions in the portfolio.
The FOMC March meeting will be the second one in 2023. Previously on January 31 – February 1, the US Fed had increased the interest rate by a quarter percentage to take the Fed funds rate to the 4.50%- 4.75% range. Earlier, the US Fed climbed down from four consecutive rate hikes of 75bps to a 50 basis point increase in December, following up with a 0.25% hike in January. The markets expect the Fed to announce a rate hike of equal magnitude by raising rates by 25 basis points on March 22.
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Powell’s biggest challenge will be to keep inflation under control while avoiding a severe economic downturn in his rate hike spree. Stock market investors will be closely watching the Fed Chair Jerome Powell talk about during his post-meeting press conference. The main issues will be how much higher the central bank expects interest rates to rise and what policymakers need to see before stopping.
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Chairman Powell has been vocal about the fact that although inflation has moderated recently, it remains too high. Fed officials are determined to bring inflation to under 2% over time. After crossing 9.1%, multi-decade high inflation, annual inflation dropped to 6.4% in January 2023.