The Outlook for Interest Rates For the week of February 15, 2016  

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Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being. –Kevin Kruse


The Outlook for Interest Rates


Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen cautioned last week that global economic pressures pose risks to the U.S. economy but said it’s too soon to know whether those risks are severe enough to alter the Fed’s interest-rate policies.
Yellen said the Fed will determine at its next meeting in March how much economic weakness and falling markets around the world have hamstrung U.S. growth. And for a second day, Yellen was asked about the possibility that the Fed would use negative interest rates as a way to give the economy more support.
She repeated that the Fed had studied the prospect of deploying negative rates in 2010 but had decided not to use them to try to boost the economy. But she said the Fed thought it should study the issue again. Other central banks, including in Europe and Japan, are
“In light of the experience of European countries and others that have gone to negative rates,” Yellen said, “we are taking a look at them again because we would want to be prepared in the event we needed” to nudge rates below zero to try to fuel borrowing and spending.
Yellen stressed that any Fed decision to employ negative rates in the United States was not imminent. She said that while the financial landscape has darkened since the Fed’s December rate increase, reversing course from gradually raising rates to cutting rates is “not what I consider the most likely scenario.”
The Fed chair acknowledged that the central bank has been surprised by how much energy prices have dropped and the U.S. dollar has risen in value since mid-2014.
“We have been surprised in part by those developments, and they have played a significant role in holding down inflation,” Yellen said.
The Fed has tied future rate increases to further evidence that it’s advancing its goal of having inflation rise at a rate of 2% annually. For nearly four years, the Fed has fallen well short of that target, in part because of sinking energy prices and a stronger dollar, which lowers the cost of imported goods.
Yellen’s testimony to the Senate Banking Committee followed an appearance before the House Financial Services Committee. On both days, Yellen cautioned that global pressures could depress the economy’s growth and slow the pace of Fed rate hikes.

Key Economic Reports Released This Week

Tue 02/16
8:30 am et
Empire State Mfg Survey
for February ’16
Federal Reserve Bank
of New York
-10.0 ** ?If strong demand
?If weak demand
Tue 02/16
10:00 am et
NAHB Housing Index
for February ’16
National Association
of Home Builders
61 ** Undetermined
Tue 02/16
1:00 pm et
Weekly Bill Auction Dept. of the Treasury N/A
** ?If strong demand
?If weak demand
Wed 02/17
7:00 am et
MBA Mtg Apps Survey
for week ending 02/12
Mortgage Bankers Association of America N/A * Undetermined
Wed 02/17
8:30 am et
Producer Price Index (PPI)
for January ’16
Bur. of Labor Statistics
Department of Labor
core 0.1%
*** ?If above consensus
?If below consensus
Wed 02/17
8:30 am et
Housing Starts / Permits
for January ’16
Bureau of the Census
Dept. of Commerce
HS 1.175M
BP 1.224M
*** ?If above consensus
?If below consensus
Wed 02/17
8:30 am et
Industrial Prod / Capacity
for January ’16
Federal Reserve Board IP 0.2%
CU 76.6%
*** ?If above consensus
?If below consensus
Wed 02/17
2:00 pm et
FOMC Minutes
for 05/19 meeting
Federal Reserve Board
Open Market Committee
N/A **** Determines Policy
Thu 02/18
8:30 am et
Jobless Claims
for week ending 02/13
Bur. of Labor Statistics
Department of Labor
269k * ?If above consensus
?If below consensus
Thu 02/18
10:00 am et
Philadelphia Fed Survey
for February ’16
Federal Reserve Bank
of Philadelphia
-2.5% ** Undetermined
Thu 02/18
10:00 am et
Leading Econo Indicators
for January ’16
Bur. of Econ. Analysis
Dept. of Commerce
-0.2% *** ?If above consensus
?If below consensus
Fri 02/19
8:30 am et
Consumer Price Index
for January ‘ 16
Bur. of Labor Statistics
Department of Labor
core 0.1%
*** ?If above consensus
?If below consensus


* Low Importance ** Moderate Importance *** Important **** Very Important





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