The Fed Makes Historic Moves

March 17, 2020
By measuring the Fed’s reaction, we’ll get a sense of the direction the economy is headed.


Two days before its meeting started, the Fed cut its benchmark rates to near zero and will be purchasing Mortgage-Backed Securities.

This week’s meeting of the Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee could be pretty exciting, or it could be something of a wash-out. Since the Fed decided to lower rates before the meeting took place and add a bond-buying program to inject liquidity into the markets, there may be no further action on rates. Or perhaps, the turmoil in the markets will prompt the Fed to move again in a short period of time. In other words, there is a lot in the air at this meeting, and the world will be looking for the statement by the Fed to provide some clarity as to how they see this crisis unfolding.

This statement is expected to acknowledge the threat our economy faces in respect to the growth of those infected by the coronavirus. But the statement is also expected to reiterate that the economy heading into the crisis has been fairly strong. The most recent jobs reports actually demonstrated that the economy is doing quite well for now, which gives us somewhat of a cushion for what lies ahead. The question is, how bad does the Fed expect it to get? And might stimulus plans being discussed by the government be enough without additional immediate action by the Fed?

One fact is certain. Today's historically low interest rates are spurring a refinance boom the likes of which we have not seen in quite some time. If the economy holds its own against the effects of the virus, then the spring real estate market could deliver records as well. Those who are thinking of participating should keep in mind that there is no guarantee that rates will stay this low for any significant amount of time. We should all actually hope that rates move up shortly, which would mean that progress is being made in containing the coronavirus.