The Federal Reserve was never hiking rates four times this year. Investors didn’t believe it, and now Fed Chair Janet Yellen has all but explicitly acknowledged it. Indeed, Yellen’s blockbuster speech Tuesday assuring that the central bank would go slowly on future adjustments to monetary policy only caught some of the market by surprise. Others realized there was virtually no chance of a hawkish Fed in 2016.
“Central bankers at the Fed bark but they won’t bite,” Peter Schiff, frequent Fed critic and founder of Euro Pacific Capital, told CNBC.com. “I knew all that talk was a bunch of nonsense.” At their December meeting, Federal Open Market Committee officials indicated that the likely level for their interest rate target by the end of the year would be about 1 percentage point higher than it was at the end of 2015, translating to four quarter-point hikes. FULL REPORT