What the election might mean for the Fed

The 2016 election could have repercussions for US monetary policy.

Currently, the market sees an 82% chance that the Fed hikes its key rate by 25 basis points in December, according fed funds futures data compiled by Bloomberg.

However, several analysts and economists wrote in research reports over the weekend that a Donald Trump victory followed by market volatility and risk-off posturing, could decrease the likelihood of a Fed rate hike in December.

“A Trump win could trigger uncertainty and volatility. There would probably be a flight to safe havens in and outside the US, but this time the USD would not benefit from the riskoff sentiment,” according to a report by Societe Generale’s Cross Asset Research team. “Central banks, notably the Fed, would support the market with a more dovish stance.”

They continued: “A Trump victory could derail a December hike scenario, as the Fed may wait for clarity about the impact on financial conditions (US curve, USD, global EMFX, risk asset valuation and volatility).”

A team at Barclays led by Rajiv Setia articulated a similar argument in a note, writing:

“We believe that were the election to result a Trump victory, the knee jerk-reaction is likely to be a risk off, a flight-to-quality bid in front to intermediate Treasuries, and a steeper 5s30s Treasury curve, especially as the resulting tightening in financial conditions will likely reduce the probability of a Fed hike at the December meeting. […] In the case of a Clinton victory, as a knee-jerk reaction, risk assets should perform well and the 5s30s curve should flatten as the probability of a Fed hike at the December meeting should rise.”

Something that might be worth keeping an eye on will be changes in language by Fed officials in the days immediately following the election, according to a Citi Research team led by Dana M. Peterson.

“Fischer, Bullard, Evans, Kashkari and Williams are all slated to speak this week,” the team wrote to clients. “Investors probably will look for (a) any changes in Fed views about a December interest rate hike in light of potential financial market volatility following the election; and (b) how Fischer and Williams, in particular, characterise better- than-expected wage growth in the most recent payroll employment report.”

In any case, overall, markets are bracing for volatility in the immediate aftermath of the election. And some analysts have argued that safe haven assets such as gold could get a boost.

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