After today’s Fed meeting, Janet Yellen stated that she does not expect a Fed rate hike “for the next couple of meetings.” The Fed meets in January, March, April and June, so this would make it seem that April would the first meeting where we could expect a reasonably high probability of a rate hike, with June looking to be the most likely meeting. It is certainly possible that if inflation pressures increase we could see a rate hike sooner, that does not appear likely given the recent drop in oil prices. Today’s consumer prices report showed the lowest level for consumer inflation in six years (since 2008), with a 0.3% decline in November. However, if we remove food and energy, consumer prices rose by 0.1%. Should oil prices rebound, inflation fears among Fed members could escalate, making an earlier rate hike more likely. Regardless of the specific timing of the first hike, Yellen made it clear that rates will begin to rise in 2015. We also know that once the rate hikes begin, the pace of the increases will be brisk.