Traders bet big on May Fed rate cuts – Will your portfolio survive the shock?


  • On Friday, traders bet that May is the more likely start to a cycle of Fed rate cuts this year since inflation is falling too slowly to deliver its first rate cut by March.
  • The Commerce Department reported Friday that December Fed Reserve-targeted inflation rose 2.6% from a year earlier. The personal consumption expenditures price index is the Fed’s 2% goal.
  • The decline in inflation has spurred a spectacular stock market comeback, with the S&P 500 index up 20% since its October low.

As traders navigate through the intricate web of economic indicators and central bank decisions, a prevailing sentiment has emerged among investors – a belief that the Fed Reserve is poised to initiate a series of rate cuts, with May being a focal point of interest. This collective expectation is rooted in a complex interplay of economic data, global geopolitical developments, and the ongoing efforts to steer monetary policy in response to prevailing economic conditions.

In this context, traders are closely monitoring a multitude of factors, deciphering signals, and strategically positioning their bets in anticipation of potential rate adjustments that could have far-reaching implications for financial markets worldwide. 

Traders go all-in on Fed rate cut predictions

Traders wagered on Friday that May is the more probable starting point for a series of interest-rate reductions by the U.S. central bank this year, as inflation is currently declining but not rapidly enough to allow the central bank to implement its first reduction by March.

Inflation, as targeted by the Fed Reserve, increased 2.6% year-over-year in December, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Friday. As indicated by the personal consumption expenditures price index, the Fed’s objective is 2%.

Data from the last three and six months indicated that underlying core inflation, which excludes food and energy costs and is regarded by the Fed Reserve as an indicator of impending price pressures, was below 2%.

There was a 48% chance of a rate reduction at the March 19-20 meeting and a 90% chance of a rate cut by the April 30-May 1 meeting, according to futures contracts that settle to the Fed’s policy rate following the release of the report.

The target range for the Fed’s policy rate has remained unchanged since July of last year. At that time, the Fed increased the range by a quarter-percentage point to 5.25%-5.5% but expressed uncertainty as to whether the policy was sufficiently restrictive to combat inflation.

Following Thursday’s report that the U.S. economy expanded at a 3.3% annualized rate in the fourth quarter, significantly faster than economists had anticipated, Friday’s report also revealed that consumer spending surged at the end of the year. December saw a 3.7% unemployment rate in the United States, which was just above the level observed when the Fed Reserve initiated its rate-hike initiative in March 2022.

The Bidenomics inflation election starts this week

Following his victory in the New Hampshire primary election on January 23, Donald Trump appears to be making steady progress toward the Republican presidential nomination. President Joe Biden encounters minimal opposition from his Democratic counterparts. 

Presently, both individuals are engaged in a campaign against one another. The general election of 2024 has begun.

Since its peak of 8.9% in 2022, the inflation rate has declined rapidly to its current level of 3.3%; the most recent indicators indicate that this trend will continue. Since its low point in October, the S&P 500 index has risen 20%, a remarkable rally fueled by the retreat of inflation.

However, the majority of voters hold a different perspective than economists, as Americans are well aware that prices for essential items, including food, rent, and energy, have risen and remained elevated despite a decline in the overall rate of price increases. 

The potential ramifications of inflation, whether it returns to normal or continues to penalize voters, may prove to be a determining element when late deciders select their candidate in the autumn.

According to new projections by Oxford Economics, a moderate increase in inflation by autumn could tip the scales in November in Trump’s favor. Oxford concurs with other prognosticators that a minority of crossover voters in a handful of states—Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada—will determine the outcome. 

Furthermore, their level of opposition or support for Biden will be determined by the degree to which they are concerned about inflation.

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.

Share link:

Florence Muchai

Florence is a crypto enthusiast and writer who loves to travel. As a digital nomad, she explores the transformative power of blockchain technology. Her writing reflects the limitless possibilities for humanity to connect and grow.

Most read

Loading Most Read articles...

Stay on top of crypto news, get daily updates in your inbox

Related News

Emerging crypto projects
Subscribe to CryptoPolitan