Muni Minute: A Sign of Four

In the latest episode of Muni Minute, The Bond Buyer looks beyond this week's meeting of the Federal Reserve to what lies ahead for interest rates during the rest of the year. Will the economy improve with above average job, wage and GDP growth? Will the Fed then feel confident enough to raise rates more that its anticipated three times? Will four become the Fed's lucky number in 2017? Stay tuned on Wednesday for the FOMC's new summary of economic projections that may answer these questions.

BARNETT: With the market expecting an interest rate rise this week, just two meetings after the Federal Reserve’s last hike and early in the year, the question, becomes are four rate hikes in the cards for 2017? In the last tightening cycle, the Fed moved every after meeting. While the Fed has touted gradual removal of accommodation, upping the pace to an increase at every other meeting isn’t out of the question.

But unlike the start of 2015 and 2016 when the Fed expected three or four rate hikes only to provide one each year – and both times in December – Fed Chair Janet Yellen recently stated, “The process of scaling back accommodation likely will not be as slow as it was during the past couple of years.” She also changed her view of the current accommodation level to 'moderate' from 'modest' which suggests she believes there is more room for rates to move higher.

A new summary of economic projections will be released by the Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday clarifying the Fed’s intentions.

I’m Chip Barnett and this has been your BB Muni Minute.