Sentiment Analysis Of FOMC Statements Reveals A More Hawkish Fed

This article was originally published in Forbes

This piece kicks off our new series on the analysis of the Federal Reserve using Sentieo’s natural language processing power and flexible Doc Search technology. We will focus on bringing interesting ideas and surprising revelations derived from thousands of public federal reserve documents. Join us as we scrutinize meetings, congressional testimonies, and press conferences with some truly impressive technology; and see what’s coming up next in our series:

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The Federal Reserve System’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets eight times a year, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time in the basement of a nondescript, Washington, D.C. office building. The terse statements released after those meetings drive the direction of global financial markets and the meeting minutes are carefully scrutinized carefully by the media.

We parsed recent statements and minutes since 2012 using Sentieo’s natural language processing and sentiment analysis and found some interesting trends.

For the most recent statement 9/20, the strongest topic continued to be inflation, as highlighted in the unfiltered word cloud shown here.

The intensity was roughly equivalent to the prior statement, as the Fed continues to be vexed by an inflation shortfall versus expectations. Based on the statements alone, this analysis would suggest that Fed intentions have barely changed.  However, when we apply sentiment analysis to the words in the documents using the Loughran-McDonald context-specific lexicon, which assigns a simple positive or negative value to words based on the financial services industry context, the 9/20 statement occurs as much more hawkish.

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