The Federal Open Market Committee caps off a scheduled, 2-day meeting today in the nation’s capital, its 8th meeting of the year.
The group adjourns at 2:15 PM ET and, as is customary, will issue a press release reviewing its monetary policy and the health of the U.S. economy.
The FOMC’s post-meeting statements are brief but comprehensive. They’re a window into the mind of the Federal Reserve and Wall Street picks apart every sentence for clues.
It’s why FOMC meetings tend to shake up the mortgage markets — for good and for bad.
After its September 2009 meeting, the FOMC said in its press release:
- Financial markets have improved
- Housing activity has increased
- Economic activity has “picked up”
Since September, the momentum has picked up. Credit risks have reduced further, home sales are surging, and, although unemployment remains high, the Fed remains optimistic about a full economic recovery.
Today’s FOMC press release will be closely watched. If the Fed alludes to strong growth with inflation in 2010, mortgage rates should rise. Reference to slower growth should help keep rates steady.
The FOMC is expected to leave the Fed Funds Rate within its target range of 0.000-0.250 percent — the lowest it’s been in history. However, it’s what the Fed says Wednesday that will matter more than what it does.
If you’re floating a mortgage rate or wondering if the time is right to lock, the safe approach is to lock prior to 2:15 PM ET Wednesday.