The policymaking arm of the Federal Reserve (Fed), the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), will hold its sixth of eight meetings of the year this week. On Thursday, September 17, 2015, at the conclusion of the two-day meeting, the FOMC will release a statement and a new economic and interest rate forecast. In addition, Fed Chair Janet Yellen will conduct her third post-FOMC meeting press conference of the year. The FOMC will also provide markets with a new set of targets at this meeting, as it does four times a year. The FOMC will release its new forecast for gross domestic product (GDP), the unemployment rate, inflation, the appropriate timing of the first rate hike, and the so-called “dot plot,” where each member identifies the appropriate level for the fed funds rate at year-end in 2015, 2016, 2017, and in the “longer run.” These data points will be scoured by market participants looking for clues regarding how the FOMC’s internal economic forecast has evolved since the last release in June 2015, for clues to future policy, regardless of any decision made this week. The dot plot, in particular the level of the fed funds rate the FOMC sees in the “longer run,” may play an important role in this week’s meeting if the committee does not raise rates.

How Much, How Far, How Fast, Not When