The market doesn't think the Fed will raise rates until 2017

The market doesn’t think the Fed will raise rates until 2017.

After the Federal Reserve raised interest rates in December for the first time in nine years the big question was: “When’s the next one?”

The most aggressive forecasts for the Fed in 2016 called for four rate hikes, which most assumed would occur in March, June, September, and December — or the four Fed meetings accompanied by a press conference.

Of course, much of the “Fedspeak” we hear around the path of policy emphasises that the Fed will remain data-dependent and that there is no set course for rate hikes.

But now the market seems to have pushed out their expectations for a rate hike because of the recent volatility we’ve seen in global markets since the December move and lacklustre economic data in the US.

Kansas City Fed president Esther George earlier this week said, “To a great extent, the recent bout of volatility is not all that unexpected, nor necessarily worrisome, given that the Fed’s low interest rate and bond-buying policies focused on boosting asset prices as a means of stimulating the real economy.”

George added that, “As asset prices adjust to the shift in monetary policy, it is to be expected that the pricing of risk will realign to this different rate environment.”

This is pretty hawkish talk and suggests that George — who is a voting member of the FOMC — doesn’t want to let the market “bully” the Fed into changing course when their view on the economy would otherwise dictate a rate hike.

But taking the Fed’s recent reluctance to move in the face of heightened volatility and the economy’s overall sluggish fourth quarter and start to the year, the market is taking the other side of the Fed.


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