Fed is Willing to Tolerate Higher Inflation

Today is the first Friday in May and that means we got the April Jobs Report released today, and before I actually get into the details of the jobs report, I want to talk about what happened with the Fed this week. I think that is the most significant news of the week.  The Fed’s statement on Wednesday and the comments from today are the real reasons we had the 300+ point rally in the Dow today, that’s why we had the 400+point turnaround in the Dow on Thursday.  It’s all about the Fed and its willingness to tolerate higher inflation.

Fed Inserted the word “Symmetrical”

So we got the FOMC announcement on Wednesday after their 2-day meeting, and as expected, they left interest rates unchanged. The most significant part of the statement that accompanied the Fed’s decision not to raise rates was inserting the word, “symmetrical” in their description of inflation.  Up until Wednesday, the Fed was always worried that we didn’t have enough inflation. The inflation rate was too low, and their goal was to get it up to their 2% level.

We Can Go Above 2% to the Same Extent We Were Below 2%

Now the Fed is saying that they are at 2% and they expect the rate to actually go above 2%, and they’re OK with it. What they mean by symmetrical is that inflation was below 2%, at least the way they measure it. It’s probably always been well above it, but let’s just look at the government statistics.  Based on the government statistics we had inflation of 1.4, 1.5, 1.6; it was always below 2.  So now what they’re saying is we can have some symmetry on the upside, meaning, all right, we can have 2.5, because 2.5 and 1.5. the average is 2.

The Fed is Actually Lifting Their Inflation Target

So what the Fed is really saying is their goal is not to have 2% inflation, their goal is to have inflation that averages 2%.  So if we’ve had inflation of under 2% for all these years, we can have inflation of over2% by the same proportion for the same number of years and they we would have averaged 2% inflation for the entire time.  So, in reality, what the Fed is really doing, and I have been saying this all along – for years and years – they are actually lifting their inflation target.