A preview of what to watch for in the FOMC monetary policy meeting Minutes due at 2pm eastern time in the US (that's 1900GMT)

You might remember the December meeting results ... a rate hike from the Feds for the first time in a billion years (Or something like that. OK, seven years).

What to watch for?

"The path". Yep, the big question now revolves around future rate hikes from the Federal Reserve. When is the next hike, and the one after that ... this is the 'the path' (of future hikes)

  • At the post announcement press conference in December Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said further tightening would happen "gradually", dependent on economic developments (which is sorta obvious, amIright?)
  • The minutes will, probably, give us an idea of the debate around the FOMC table on what to watch (I'm gonna take a wild stab in the dark and say inflation and labour market developments), what sort of confidence members will need to have before hiking again (and again)
  • How confident are members in the Fed's own quarterly economic projections? These imply around 4 hikes this year (futures market pricing is pointing to only 2)
  • ps. San Fran head Williams reckons there will be 3 to 5, Clevelend's gung-ho head Mester is looking for 4 (or more)

Inflation outlook

  • Inflation has been subdued (well below the 2% goal)
  • If it stays low the pressure for more hikes will diminish
  • The Fed's preferred inflation measure was on 0.4% for the year (November reading) and forecasts are currently for 1.6% in 2016 ... that forecast inflation, along with the level of confidence in it, will inform on the path
  • Again at the post-meeting news conference, Yellen the committee will monitor "actual and expected progress" on inflation ... so its not just the results on inflation, but where members expect it to go

The Fed's balance sheet (around $4.5 trillion from around $900 billion in 2008)

  • Watch to see if we get any indications on the plan for scaling this back

Labour market

  • I've left this until last, not because its least important, but because progress seems solid on this front
  • Unemployment has halved in the past six years, but we'll be watching for comments on how this is expected to further develop