2024 FED Meetings: Key Dates & Expectations

The upcoming Federal Reserve (Fed) meeting is a pivotal event, closely monitored by investors and economists worldwide. It will assess the current economic landscape, with a particular focus on inflation and interest rates, shaping monetary policy for the coming months.

fed reserve next meeting

Let's explore what we can anticipate from the Federal Reserve, not just at its upcoming March meeting but also throughout the remaining months of the year. This topic is of paramount importance to investors since the Federal Reserve's decisions have a direct impact on market trends (including stocks, currencies, and indices) as well as the broader economy.

What happens at FED meetings?

To fully grasp the activities within Federal Reserve meetings, it's essential to be familiar with four key terms:

  • FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee): This is the Federal Reserve's monetary policy-making body, consisting of 12 members. Its primary role is to devise monetary policy strategies aimed at achieving set objectives. The committee convenes roughly every six weeks, totalling eight meetings annually, in Washington. Typically, after half of these meetings, a press conference is held to discuss the proceedings.
  • Fed Minutes: These documents provide a detailed account of the discussions that take place during FOMC meetings. Released three weeks after each meeting, the Minutes offer insights into the viewpoints of all attending members.
  • Beige Book: This report compiles data utilised by the FOMC to inform its decision-making process. It is published approximately two weeks prior to each FOMC meeting.
  • Dot Plot: Introduced by Ben Bernanke towards the end of 2011 during his tenure as the Bank's president, the dot plot is a graphical representation that displays individual FOMC members' expectations regarding the direction of interest rates for the current year and beyond. This chart, which aligns a series of points to indicate whether rates are expected to rise, fall, or remain stable, is made available after every Federal Reserve meeting.

During Federal Reserve meetings, particularly those of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), members begin by reviewing national and global economic conditions. This includes examining a range of economic indicators, such as inflation rates, unemployment figures, and GDP growth, to assess the health of the economy.

👉 Learn more: Differences between American indices: Dow Jones, Nasdaq, and S&P 500

The main agenda is discussing and deciding on monetary policy measures. This involves deliberations on interest rates (whether to raise, lower, or maintain them) based on the current economic outlook. The goal is to achieve maximum employment, stabilise prices, and moderate long-term interest rates — the three key objectives of the Federal Reserve.

After a thorough discussion, the FOMC members vote on monetary policy actions. These decisions directly influence interest rates and the availability of credit in the economy. The outcome of the vote is then communicated to the public.

fed meeting upcoming

The Fed communicates its decisions and the rationale behind them through a post-meeting statement. For selected meetings, the Chair also holds a press conference to provide further insights and answer questions. This transparency aims to manage the expectations of investors, policymakers, and the public.

Key documents, such as the meeting minutes and economic projections, are released to provide detailed insights into the discussions and economic forecasts that influenced the committee's decisions. The “Fed Minutes” offer a comprehensive account of the meeting, and the “Dot Plot” visually represents members' rate projections.

By discussing economic conditions, formulating monetary policy, and voting on interest rate adjustments, the FOMC seeks to foster economic stability and growth. Understanding these activities provides valuable context for interpreting the Federal Reserve's actions and their potential impact on the economy and financial markets.

PCE inflation report: key FED inflation measure released in March

Recently, investors' attention was drawn to the release of the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation indicator in the United States: the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index.

The U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) met expectations this Wednesday (20th of March) and kept interest rates for the fifth consecutive meeting in the range of 5.25% to 5.5%, but did not close the door to three possible cuts by the end of the year. In any case, Powell specified that any change in this regard will be taken “meeting by meeting” and according to incoming data.

Next Fed meeting: what to expect in May?

The forthcoming meeting of the Federal Reserve is scheduled for the 30th of April and 1st of May. It is predicted that the central bank will maintain the interest rate within the range of 5.25-5.5%. But, the rate is probably at its peak for this adjustment cycle. So, if the economy evolves in general terms as expected, it will likely be appropriate to begin reducing the moderation at some point this year.

Futures markets suggest that the earliest possibility for a cut in interest rates might be in June.

“We want to see more data that gives us higher confidence on inflation moving down sustainably.”

Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell 

Fed meetings calendar 2024

The Federal Reserve convenes eight times annually, with an interval of about 40 days between each meeting.

Schedule of meetings for 2024
January 30 and 31(Done)
March 19 and 20 (Done)
April 30 and May 1
June 11 and 12
July 30 and 31
September 17 and 18
November 6 and 7
December 17 and 18

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Last Fed meeting: did the Fed raise interest rates in March 2024?

In its March 2024 meeting, the Federal Reserve maintained interest rates within the 5.25-5.5% range, making this the fifth consecutive meeting without changes.

Source: Fred St. Louis FED

Consequently, it opted to hold off on reducing interest rates until there is clear evidence that inflation is steadily returning to the 2% target.

How many times were interest rates raised in 2023?

The January meeting underscored a new phase where interest rates were kept steady. This represented the third successive meeting without a change, following an uninterrupted series of 11 rate increases that began in March 2022.

Thus, from March 2022, the Federal Reserve escalated interest rates on 11 occasions, ceasing this pattern in July 2023.

Will the Fed reduce interest rates this year?

Susan Collins, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and John Williams, from New York, have indicated that the initial rate reduction is expected later this year. Raphael Bostic of the Atlanta Fed has mentioned considering a rate cut sometime during the summer.

The unified stance among all members emphasises the need for patience, committing to no rate changes until there's confidence that inflation will consistently decrease. This cautious approach is underscored by January's inflation rates, which were higher than both expected and desired.

Historically, the Federal Reserve was quick to lower interest rates in response to economic downturns. Currently, however, the US economy displays robustness, with sustained consumer spending and historically low unemployment rates, mirroring the conditions present when the Fed started increasing rates in March 2022.

Conclusion

The Federal Reserve has recognised the pitfalls of hasty decisions. Premature interest rate reductions can potentially cause more harm than good. Therefore, a cautious and deliberate approach, grounded in thorough data analysis, is preferred.

Efforts to mitigate market volatility and manage expectations have been more measured and effective in recent years, especially under the leadership of Janet Yellen and Jerome Powell. This strategic communication approach has reduced the market's extreme reactions to Fed announcements, showcasing the benefits of a more educative and preparatory methodology towards financial markets.

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FAQs

How does the Fed's decision on interest rates affect the average consumer?

Changes in interest rates can affect loan and mortgage rates, savings account yields, and overall spending and saving behaviour among consumers.

What are Fed rate hikes or cuts, and why do they matter?

Rate hikes (increases) or cuts (decreases) are tools the Fed uses to control inflation and stimulate or cool down the economy. They significantly impact loans, mortgages, and overall economic growth.

What time is fed meeting?

The announcement of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy, an event highly anticipated by investors and economic analysts around the world, is scheduled for 18:00 GMT. These announcements are crucial as they can influence global financial markets, exchange rates, and have a significant impact on the overall economy.

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