Home Economy News Possible Fed interest rate cuts “off the table for now” – Bank of America

Possible Fed interest rate cuts “off the table for now” – Bank of America


Investing.com — Federal Reserve interest rate cuts are “off the table for now” following recent commentary from policymakers and minutes from the central bank’s latest meeting, analysts at Bank of America Global Research wrote on Friday.

Statements from Fed officials this week suggested that rate-setters want to see more evidence that inflation is cooling back down to their 2% target, meaning that they are likely in no rush to ratchet down borrowing costs.

Minutes from the May meeting of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) also showed that members remained worried about sticky inflationary pressures, with some even expressing a “willingness to tighten policy further” should risks of price growth reigniting appear.

However, the Bank of America analysts said in a note to clients that “the inflation data would have to deteriorate considerably further before the Fed seriously considers raising rates again.”

“In recent weeks, FOMC participants have reiterated almost in unison Chair [Jerome] Powell’s stance that the current policy stance is restrictive, and this should facilitate a return to 2% inflation ‘over time’. The implication is that the Fed sees no urgency to tighten further at the moment.”

Meanwhile, data this week showing stronger-than-anticipated business activity and lower weekly unemployment benefit filings also dented hopes for imminent interest rate cuts. In theory, an easing in activity and a softer labor market could help defuse inflation — the ultimate goal of the Fed’s hiking cycle.

For now, markets are also not anticipating that the Fed will begin signalling an imminent rate cut. There is a roughly 45% chance that the first reduction may not come until September, according to the CME Group’s (NASDAQ:CME) closely-watched FedWatch Tool.

In the Bank of America analysts’ base case, the central bank will not start slashing rates until December. They argued that the Fed will likely need to see a sustained slowdown in services prices.

“A significant decline in overall year-over-year inflation would strengthen the case for cuts, although that seems unlikely given unfavorable base effects in coming months,” they said.

But, they flagged, “nothing changes until something changes.”

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