Janet Yellen is basically on board with a March hike by saying “At our meeting later this month, the Committee will evaluate whether employment and inflation are continuing to evolve in line with our expectations, in which case a further adjustment of the fed funds rate would likely be appropriate.”
She is also is defending the turf of the FOMC by saying “I currently see no evidence that the Fed has fallen behind the curve, and I therefore continue to have confidence in our judgment that a gradual removal of accommodation is likely to be appropriate.” Assuming they hike in March, gradual will likely be defined as 3 times per year. Not surprisingly I think they are so far behind the curve that none of them would make my son’s little league team.
James Bullard doesn’t want to hike in March but he’s not a voting member. He said today that he relies on the Dallas Fed trimmed mean one year PCE inflation rate that takes out volatile components. Here is a chart and its confounding why he doesn’t think March is appropriate. But, it doesn’t matter because Yellen does.
Stanley Fischer did not comment at all on the economic or monetary policy in his speech. These are the last Fed comments before the quiet period begins ahead of the FOMC meeting.