Powell didn’t appear concerned about the recent ascent in bond yields during Wednesday’s monetary policy update. He also said the central bank isn’t ready to pull the plug on its bond-buying program, thereby avoiding a situation like the 2013 “taper tantrum” that occurred when investors got scared about the end of the last easy-money era.
Powell tried to soothe worries about rising inflation. Investors are concerned that the reopening of the economy and pent up consumer demand will lead to a jump in inflation over the summer that will force the Fed to raise interest rates.
The Fed’s consensus outlook showed that only four officials are expecting an interest rate increase in 2022, with most officials forecasting a hike in 2023. In his remarks, Powell reiterated that any rising prices over the summer will be temporary.
Although this helped the market Wednesday, “inflation fears have crept in again,” said BMO economist Priscilla Thiagamoorthy, explaining the yield move in a note to clients.
“After yesterday’s [Fed] rate decision and [the] Powell press conference, investors appeared to be comfortable with the Fed’s plan going forward,” said Paul Hickey, of Bespoke Investment Group. “After sleeping on it, though, investors are having second thoughts.”