Investors are waking up after years of somnolent money-making.
Markets are in a tizzy. They’re finally reacting to the Fed’s rate-hike cycle, the slowest rate-hike cycle in history. It took three years to nudge up the effective federal funds rate from near zero to 2.40% now. Throughout, the Fed has communicated its goals of “removing accommodation” from the “financial conditions” in the markets — thus tightening “financial conditions” that had become loosey-goosey during years of zero-interest-rate policy and QE.
And suddenly, financial conditions in the markets started tightening in October. So let’s see where we are — and how this might impact the Fed’s decisions.
“Financial conditions” is a key term in the Fed’s official communications. For example, in the minutes from the November FOMC meeting, the most recent available, the term was used five times: