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What will the Fed say this week?

Some economists have argued that the Federal Reserve missed its window for raising interest rates and it was too late when it embarked on a rate-hiking course in December.

Janet Yellen
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Janet Yellen

Along comes Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer, who said recently that he thinks predictions of four more rate hikes this year are "in the ballpark," though that could change, given all the global uncertainty.



So what will the Fed say after its two-day meeting this week?

I like to imagine that it would look something like this:

Before we get into our usual assessment of the current economic situation, the Federal Open Market Committee would like to first say that Mr. Fischer's comments were his and his alone, and, thus, do not represent the view of the committee.

To be sure, the committee believes the conditions have been met for the normalization of interest-rate policy to begin and that economic growth will continue to expand at a moderate pace in 2016, with further gains in employment, albeit at a potentially slower pace than in recent months, and inflation to continue moving toward the committee's stated target of 2 percent.

However, consistent with the Federal Reserve's statutory mandate of achieving maximum sustainable employment and stable prices, it is altogether possible that the committee's economic forecasts are unduly optimistic, as they have been in recent years.

Some of the factors restraining inflation, like the drop in oil and gasoline prices, which we deemed "transitory," now appear more long-lasting suggesting that inflation is highly unlikely to reach our target in the medium term.

Several global stock markets have fallen 20 percent or more from their most recent highs; commodities continued to decline; the dollar added to its 18-month gains and capital flight from emerging markets accelerated amid worries that asymmetric monetary policies among the world's major central banks would strain foreign exchange rates to the extent that disruptions occur in global financial markets.

While unmentioned in recent statements, the committee's desire for financial market stability, though not explicitly included in our statutory mandate, is a condition that the committee desires to ensure that our dual-mandate is achieved.

For the foreseeable future, the FOMC will remain, as it always has been, "data-dependent."

If financial-market conditions, forward looking economic indicators and inflation expectations should turn downward, the committee will continue to provide policy accommodation, including additional rate reductions, which may mean negative interest rates, reductions in the interest paid on excess reserves and other unconventional measures, in an effort to ensure our hard won gains will not perish in vain.


From my perspective, the statement could be a lot shorter: "Our bad! And thank God, we don't have a press conference today, as we would prefer not to answer any of your questions at this time."

Commentary by Ron Insana, a CNBC and MSNBC contributor and the author of four books on Wall Street. Follow him on Twitter @rinsana.

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