When Is the Next Fed Meeting?

Markets aren't sure whether the next Fed meeting will bring another rate hike or a pause.

Federal reserve chair Jerome Powell speaking about interest rate hikes at next fed meeting
(Image credit: Getty Images)

"When is the next Fed meeting?" is a question that hasn't weighed this heavily on anxious investors' minds in probably four decades.

Which is fair enough, really. The worst inflation to hit the U.S. economy in 40 years appears to have peaked in 2022, and yet the Federal Reserve remains committed to its most aggressive campaign of interest rate hikes since the late Carter and early Reagan administrations.

After all, who can forget that rising interest rates helped clobber equity markets last year? Or that higher borrowing costs are indeed having their intended effect of retarding economic activity.

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The sudden and shocking failures of Silicon Valley Bank ( SIVB ) and Signature Bank ( SBNY ) have only added to investors' anxiety. Troubles at Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse ( CS (opens in new tab) ) further rattled markets.

There's a saying on Wall Street that the Fed stops hiking rates when something breaks. The proximate cause for SVB's collapse was a classic bank run. But what spooked depositors in the first place was the fact that SVB had so much of its capital essentially trapped in Treasury bonds, the prices of which fall when interest rates rise.

Heck, before SVB imploded, the market thought there was a high chance the Fed, which had been slowing its pace of rate hikes, would actually revert to implementing larger rate increases.

At least that was the takeaway from Fed Chair Jerome Powell's recent semiannual report (opens in new tab) to Congress. The issue being that although inflation appears to have peaked, it still remains stubbornly high.

(Note that the collapse of two major banks less than a week after Powell's congressional appearance eliminated any chances for a return to big rate hikes, at least in the market's eyes.)

Meanwhile, the economic data aren't helping the case for lower interest rates – even as rate increases put stress on the banking sector and threaten to push the economy into recession.

Although the February CPI report showed that headline inflation continued to cool, core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, hit a five-month high. The Fed's preferred measure of inflation – the personal consumption expenditures price index (PCE) – also came in hotter than expected last month.

On the other hand, the producer price index unexpectedly fell in February, indicating some easing of inflation at the wholesale level.

Other data are likewise complicating the Fed's mission.

Heightened uncertainty among consumers caused U.S. retail sales to fall 0.4% in February vs the previous month. That was steeper than the 0.3% decline economists were expecting.

And then there's the bigger picture: while gross domestic product or GDP grew by more than economists forecast in the fourth quarter, growth slowed sequentially from Q3. The GDP outlook for 2023 is unquestionably downbeat too, as some forecasters put the probability of recession at 60% or greater.

Finally, there's the labor market , which remains far too robust for the Fed's comfort. Don't forget: both the February jobs report and the January jobs report blew away economists' and market participants' expectations.

The fact remains that despite a number of high-profile layoffs, primarily in the technology sector, the jobs outlook remains fairly robust.

The bottom line? The Federal Reserve has made it plain and clear that it will continue to raise interest rates to try to slow the economy, increase unemployment and, by extension, cool inflation .

When you consider the Fed's dual mandate of promoting both "maximum" employment and stable prices against the backdrop of financial sector stress, stumbling share prices and rising recession odds, no wonder investors are obsessed with the question of "when is the next Fed meeting?"

The Next Fed Meeting: What to Expect

federal reserve building

(Image credit: Getty Images)

For the record, the central bank's rate-setting committee is called the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

As you can see from the FOMC meeting calendar (opens in new tab) below, the committee meets eight times a year. These meetings last two days, and conclude with the FOMC releasing its policy decision at 2 pm Eastern time. The Fed chief then holds a press conference at 2:30 pm. (Pro tip: as closely scrutinized as the Fed statement might be, market participants are usually even more keen on what the Fed chair has to say in the press conference.)

As for the next Fed meeting, it begins on March 21 and will end with a policy statement on March 22 at 2 pm Eastern.

Prior to the crisis in the regional banking industry, the market thought a 50 basis point hike at the next Fed meeting was very much a possibility. That is no longer the case.

After the failures of SVB and Signature Bank, the market believes there is about a 62% chance the FOMC will raise the benchmark federal funds rate by 25 basis points, or 0.25%, to a range of 4.75% to 5.0%.

And in a relatively new development, the market assigns a roughly 38% probability to the FOMC leaving the fed funds rate unchanged . Because of stresses in the financial sector, the market is betting the Fed has taken a 50 basis point hike completely off the table. As recently as March 7, the market put the odds of a half-percentage point increase at nearly 70%.

Should another 25 basis point increase come to pass, that would represent a continuation of policy from the Fed's February rate hike of 0.25%, which was a slowdown from the December meeting.

To recap: in December, the Fed enacted an increase of 0.50%, which was the first step in easing after a historic run of rate increases. Prior to the December meeting, the FOMC raised short-term rates at an unprecedented pace, hiking by 75 basis points for four consecutive meetings.

Some experts argue that the Fed should pause its campaign of rate hikes. Others say a quarter-point increase is necessary to halt inflation and, importantly, maintain the Fed's credibility.

Either way, for those wondering "when is the next Fed meeting?," have a look at the schedule, courtesy of the FOMC, below.

2023 Fed Meetings Calendar

federal reserve building next fed meeting

(Image credit: Getty Images)
  • January 31 to February 1
  • March 21 to 22
  • May 2 to 3
  • June 13 to 14
  • July 25 to 26
  • September 19 to 20
  • October 31 to November 1
  • December 12 to 13
Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer, Kiplinger.com

Dan Burrows is Kiplinger's senior investing writer, having joined the august publication full time in 2016.

A long-time financial journalist, Dan is a veteran of SmartMoney, MarketWatch, CBS MoneyWatch, InvestorPlace and DailyFinance. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, Senior Executive and Boston magazine, and his stories have appeared in the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and Investor's Business Daily, among other publications. As a senior writer at AOL's DailyFinance, Dan reported market news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and hosted a weekly video segment on equities.

Once upon a time – before his days as a financial reporter and assistant financial editor at legendary fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily – Dan worked for Spy magazine, scribbled away at Time Inc. and contributed to Maxim magazine back when lad mags were a thing. He's also written for Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievements Awards.

In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics and more.

Dan holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from Columbia University.

Disclosure: Dan does not trade stocks or other securities. Rather, he dollar-cost averages into cheap funds and index funds and holds them forever in tax-advantaged accounts.