(James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)
By James Saft
(Reuters) – The Federal Reserve is telling us that not much has changed in the economy except rates are going to go up faster.
That is either growing hawkishness or a communications flub by Janet Yellen in her first Federal Open Market Committee press conference.
Today’s FOMC announcement didn’t change much in terms of the Fed’s economic outlook. The employment outlook is ever so slightly more positive but GDP forecasts for this year were taken down a modest peg. That excepted, the FOMC doesn’t see much difference between today’s economy and the one they described in December. There is a slight weakening. Other than that, the committee does not appear to be expecting much difference in the economy relative to the outlook in December.
Things seem a bit weaker than January, but bad weather obscures the true state.
“You have to read this statement as risk off,” Steven Englander, a strategist at Citigroup, said in a note to clients.
“Other than the very short-term bounce from the bad weather of this winter, supply-side projections are weaker, not stronger, but rates projections are higher.”