When Is the Next Fed Meeting?

The next Fed meeting is expected to bring what market participants are calling a "hawkish 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 peaked nearly a year ago, and yet the Federal Reserve remained 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 sparked turmoil in the banking sector? Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank failed, Credit Suisse (CS (opens in new tab)) was forced into the arms of competitor UBS (UBS (opens in new tab))  and First Republic Bank had to be rescued by JPMorgan Chase (JPM (opens in new tab)).

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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. 

And surely no one can forget that the fastest pace of rate hikes in four decades absolutely clobbered equity markets in 2022. All three major indexes fell into bear markets amid rate increases, and they remain far from pulling out. 

Meanwhile, the economic data aren't conclusively 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.

Inflation cooled moderately in April, with prices rising by less than 5% on an annual basis for the first time in two years, according to the CPI report (opens in new tab). The slower rate of inflation, which came in below economists' expectations, should theoretically give the Federal Reserve room to pause its long campaign of interest rate hikes.

But experts say the CPI report doesn't exactly give the Fed a slam-dunk case for putting rate hikes on hold.

"The CPI report continues to depict inflation that is just too high for most people's good, especially the Federal Reserve’s," said Rick Rieder, BlackRock's (opens in new tab) chief investment officer of Global Fixed Income. "In fact, the report showed that inflation remains remarkably sticky, which doesn't correspond to virtually any practical thinker's timeline of when inflation might be expected to start to come down further."

Other data are likewise complicating the Fed's mission. 

Heightened uncertainty among consumers caused U.S. retail sales to fall 1% in March vs the previous month. That marked the fourth time retail sales declined in the past five months.

And then there's the bigger picture. Gross domestic product decelerated once again in the first quarter, hurt by high inflation, rising interest rates and turmoil in the banking sector. The economy expanded at an annual rate of 1.1% during the first three months of 2023, down from the 2.6% growth seen in the final quarter of 2022.

The GDP outlook for 2023 is unquestionably downbeat too, with some forecasters putting the probability of recession at 60% or greater. A separate survey of professional forecasters by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (opens in new tab) projects real GDP growth of just 1.3% this year.

For context, in the decade prior to the pandemic, GDP grew at an average annual rate of 2.3%. 

Most importantly, there's the labor market, which remains far too robust for the Fed's comfort. The April jobs report topped economists' expectations by a wide margin, and the unemployment rate ticked down to a level last seen since 1969. True, the March jobs report revealed the slowest pace of hiring in more than two years, but the 236,000 increase in payrolls was still well above the 183,000 monthly average recorded between 2010 and 2019. 

And let's not forget that the February jobs report and the January jobs report also blew away economists' and market participants' expectations.

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

When you consider the Fed's dual mandate of promoting both "maximum" employment and stable prices against the backdrop of financial sector stress 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 June 13 and will end with a policy statement on June 14 at 2 pm Eastern.

The FOMC has raised the short-term federal funds rate 10 consecutive times, but now it's widely expected to enact what is being called a "hawkish pause."

As of May 12, interest rate traders assigned an 85% (opens in new tab) probability to the FOMC keeping the fed funds rate unchanged at a target rate of 5.0% to 5.25%. By the same token, traders bet there was a 15% chance of the Fed hiking by another quarter of a percentage point. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said the central bank's decision will be "data dependent," so it's really up to forthcoming economic data to play ball. 

Should the Fed pause in its rate-hiking campaign, that would represent a definitive change in policy. And there's good reason to think the Fed's quarter-point rate hike in early May was the last one of the cycle. A change in the central bank's policy statement suggested that it could at long last put an end to its tightening campaign.

Some experts argue that the Fed should halt raising rates lest it cause further damage to the financial sector. Wobbly banks, to say nothing of outright bank failures, are deflationary in and of themselves, they maintain. Indeed, some economists calculate that the contraction in credit due to the bank crisis is equivalent to a Fed rate hike of as much as 1.5%.

Other experts argue that another quarter-point increase is necessary to definitely stamp out inflation and, perhaps more 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.

In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics, demographics, real estate, cost of living indexes and more.