Investors will probably be seeing a lot more of the Fed's Jerome Powell in the hot-seat with reporters this year.
"We suspect that Powell will make a shift to press conferences at each meeting, perhaps announcing the change next week," says UBS strategist Seth Carpenter. "There is great value to doing so -- clear communication will become more important as the Fed attempts a "soft landing" and more-frequent communication from the Chairman will frame the rest of the FOMC communication, clarifying the message."
The Fed is scheduled to meet Mar. 20-21.
Carpenter expects the Fed's Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) to show a "meaningful" revision to the Fed's outlook, with a hike in real GDP growth, falling unemployment, inflation at target and a higher set of dot plots. Given such an upbeat possibility, Powell's performance during the press conference will have to be executed nearflawlessly. Powell will be forced to temper fears of an inflationary outbreak thanks to a strong U.S. economy while also not spooking investors on a faster pace of interest rate increases.
Good luck with that one.
Former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke began the press conference initiative back in 2011 as a means to better communicate with markets and media. The practice, which currently happens four times a year, was continued under Powell's predecessor at the Fed Janet Yellen.