(Bloomberg) — Investors in the coming week will parse minutes of the Federal Reserve’s March meeting to gauge central bankers’ appetite for a half percentage point increase in interest rates next month.
Wednesday’s minutes will provide key details of the likely path forward on shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the plan will be laid out pretty clearly, hinting that policy makers debated an approach and came down in its favor.
The last time they shrank the balance sheet, the Fed set caps allowing holdings to run off at $50 billion a month — $30 billion in Treasuries and $20 billion in mortgage backed securities, phased in over a year — but officials have said they expect to go faster this time around.
In March, the Federal Open Market Committee raised its benchmark interest rate by just a quarter point against a backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine and the fastest inflation in four decades. Since then, price pressures have only mounted, and labor market data has shown solid employment growth and an acceleration in wages.
The U.S. added close to half a million jobs in March and the unemployment rate fell more than expected, according to government data on Friday. Those figures followed separate data showing a 6.4% jump in the personal expenditures price index, which the Fed uses for its inflation target.
For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for the U.S.
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