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The Fed is going to significantly hike interest rates

In this post:

  • U.S. Federal Reserve officials hinted at the possibility of further interest rate hikes, contradicting market expectations of rate cuts before 2023 ends.
  • The bank’s benchmark overnight interest rate recently raised to the 5.00%-5.25% range. Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic advocates a wait-and-see approach to assess the economy’s response.
  • Chicago President Austan Goolsbee voices concerns about tightening credit conditions and the risk of a recession.

In a significant divergence from market expectations, top officials from the U.S. Federal Reserve hinted on Monday that the central bank could continue to elevate interest rates, responding to persistent inflation pressures.

The Fed’s stance starkly contrasts with the market sentiment, anticipating rate cuts before 2023 concludes. The bank recently adjusted its benchmark overnight interest rate to the 5.00%-5.25% range.

Following this move, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic believes the prudent policy is to monitor the economy’s response to the Fed’s measures. “The appropriate policy is really just to wait and see how much the economy slows from the policy actions that we’ve had,” he told CNBC.

Inflation and interest rates: A balancing act

Inflation, although easing slightly, isn’t decelerating swiftly enough to warrant rate cuts, according to Bostic. If any inclination towards immediate action exists, it would lean towards a modest increase in rates, rather than a reduction.

This view underscores the Fed’s commitment to combating inflation, even as the economy navigates a period of uncertainty.

Supporting Bostic’s perspective, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari emphasized the Fed’s ongoing efforts to rein in inflation. Despite a slight reduction in the annual inflation rate to 4.9% in April from 5% in March, Kashkari insists that inflation is “much, much too high.”

With a hot labor market characterized by 3.4% unemployment, he cautioned against complacency, asserting that the Fed needs to “finish the job” of reducing inflation to the 2% target.

The Fed’s conundrum: Avoiding a recession

Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee revealed his concerns over tightening credit conditions, largely due to recent bank failures, which made the recent rate hike a “close call” for him. He underscored the challenge the institution faces in managing inflation without triggering a recession.

Goolsbee also warned about the risks of not hedging against higher rates. He referred to Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse in March, highlighting the bank’s failure to manage interest-rate risk as it followed the market’s prediction of an impending reversal in the Fed’s rate-hike policy.

Financial markets, however, are not entirely aligned with the Fed’s outlook. They assign a minimal probability to a further rate hike at the bank’s policy meeting on June 13-14. Interest rate futures contracts indicate the expectation of the policy rate finishing the year in the 4.25%-4.50% range.

This pricing might be a hedge against a more severe recession than widely anticipated. However, Bostic expressed optimism on this front, suggesting that any forthcoming recession would likely be neither protracted nor intense.

Chief economist at Goldman Sachs, Jan Hatzius, voiced his disagreement with the market’s aggressive expectations of a lower funds rate over time. He believes the economy will continue to expand, despite the subsiding inflation.

The Fed’s stance on interest rates and the market’s contrary expectations highlight the complexities of managing economic growth while controlling inflation in an environment fraught with economic uncertainties.

As the central bank attempts to navigate these challenges, investors and analysts will keep a keen eye on how the policy measures unfold in the coming months.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Ryan Salame
Cryptopolitan
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