Fed’s Actions Speak Louder Than Its Words – Ep. 453

May 13 – 15, 2019

Recording Today’s Podcast from Willemstad, Curaçao

I am recording today’s podcast from my cabin on a cruise ship, which is right now docked on the Dutch island of Curaçao, which is about 35 miles north of Venezuela.  I’ve never actually been to this island, even though I live in the Caribbean now, in Puerto Rico, there are still many places in the Caribbean that I have not visited. I really wish I’d come here sooner. I had no idea how beautiful this island was.  Not really the beaches, so much, although I’m sure they are equally spectacular. I didn’t go to the beach.  I just spent the day walking around town. But it’s probably the most charming Caribbean island I’ve been to, as far as the architecture and the way the town is laid out – how beautiful the streets are, and the buildings and how clean they are.  It really seems like a nice place to live. I think there is a permanent population of about 160,000 people.

The Fed’s Decision

I want to spend my limited time on today’s podcast talking about the Federal Reserve’s decision today and the press conference.  I did get back on the boat in time to watch the press conference live, and I do want to limit today’s podcast to that discussion.

Before the Fed announced its decision on interest rates – nobody expected a rate hike, and we did not get a rate hike, but before the Fed announced today’s decision, the markets were on the defensive.  Earlier in the day, Donald Trump had mentioned that he now thinks that the tariffs on Chinese imports, or on Americans who want to buy Chinese imports, may remain in effect for a much longer period of time; indicating that maybe this great trade deal is not as close as the President was letting on in the past.

Unexpected Dovishness

So the markets sold off. I think the Dow, maybe at the lows was down about 170-some odd points, not exactly sure, but then, when the Fed announced its decision not to hike, the market erased all of those losses, and I think at one point we were up close to triple digits. Nobody was expecting a hike; I think they were expecting the Fed to be dovish, but I don’t think they were expecting the Fed to be this dovish.