Markets

Boockvar: Fed data nitpicking is driving monetary policy

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The Federal Reserve's decision to leave rates unchanged doesn't reflect tightening economic conditions, but rather the central bank looking at specific data points, Peter Boockvar said Friday.

"Their choice of an economic statistic is driving monetary policy," the Lindsey Group's chief market analyst said in a CNBC "Squawk Box" interview.

"CPI, which they don't conveniently look at anymore, core CPI is running at 1.8 percent for five out of the last six months; that's basically at their target. But they say 'We don't pay attention to core CPI anymore;' It's [personal consumer expenditures]," Boockvar added.

The Consumer Price Index posted its first fall in seven months in August, coming in at 0.1 percent.

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A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange while Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen explains why the Federal Reserve chose not raise interest rates on September 17, 2015 in New York.
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The U.S. central bank announced its decision to leave interest rates unchanged on Thursday after concluding its two-day meeting.

"The committee anticipates that it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when it has seen some further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2 percent objective over the medium term," the Federal Open Market Committee said in an announcement.

Still, the Fed might have to come to grips with the fact that a 2 percent inflation rate may not be in the cards, Societe Generale Chief U.S. Economist Aneta Markowka said in the same interview.

"Perhaps accepting a 1 percent or 1.5 percent inflation rate over the next few years may be a better outcome and, to me, is closer to price stability than the alternative scenario, which is that we end up with another asset bubble," Markowka said.

The central bank's decision to hold interest rates near zero sent financial markets for a loop and weighed especially on the U.S. dollar.

"I think you see the dollar weaken a couple of percentage points as a reaction to this because, clearly, they're not going to be doing anything in the near term," Boris Schlossberg, currency analyst at B.K. Asset Management, said in another "Squawk Box" interview.

"But I think the market is going to take a wait-and-see attitude because I don't think they buy this idea that there's going to be no rate hike for the foreseeable future," Schlossberg added.

Mike Ryan, UBS' chief investment strategist, said in another interview that he agreed with the notion that the Fed would hike this year.

"I still think they go in December. But I do think right now that what the Fed is really focused on is making sure that this deflationary cycle doesn't reignite again," Ryan said. "This was the issue that the Fed and other central banks had been so obsessed about; the last thing they want to do is see it rekindled."

U.S. futures pointed to a lower open, with Dow Jones futures falling more than 150 points.