Experts Weigh In on Interest Rate Outlook as Inflation Concerns Persist

As the U.S. economy grapples with high inflation, the Fed's interest rate policy is closely watched. Experts debate whether rate cuts are imminent or if rates must remain elevated to curb inflation.

Ayesha Mumtaz
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Experts Weigh In on Interest Rate Outlook as Inflation Concerns Persist

Experts Weigh In on Interest Rate Outlook as Inflation Concerns Persist

As the U.S. economy continues to grapple with elevated inflation, experts are closely monitoring the Federal Reserve's interest rate policy and its potential impact on financial markets. While some anticipate rate cuts later this year, others caution that persistent inflationary pressures may keep rates higher for longer than initially expected.

New York Fed President John Williams recently stated that the Federal Reserve's benchmark interest rate is in a "good place" and there is no urgency to cut rates. Williams suggested that the next move by the Fed might not be to raise rates, and that interest rates will need to be lower "at some point." However, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has indicated that rates may need to remain elevated for an extended period, as recent data has not given the Fed greater confidence in the low inflation trend.

Several major banks have pushed back expectations for a June interest rate cut, tempering market hopes. Eddie Ghabour, co-founder and CEO of Key Advisors Wealth Management, expects the Fed is more likely to implement a single rate cut by September rather than the earlier June timeline. Ghabour argues that a rate cut at the current stage would be inflationary and counterintuitive to the Fed's efforts to curb inflation, warning that a premature rate cut could spark a renewed acceleration in the economy.

Why this matters: The Federal Reserve's interest rate decisions have far-reaching implications for the U.S. economy, influencing borrowing costs, investment decisions, and overall financial stability. As businesses and consumers navigate an uncertain economic landscape, the timing and magnitude of potential rate cuts will play a crucial role in shaping the future trajectory of growth and inflation.

According to a Reuters poll of 100 economists, the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to wait until September to cut its key interest rate, with half of the economists forecasting only two rate cuts this year. The outlook for various inflation measures has been broadly upgraded, with none expected to reach the Fed's 2% target until at least 2026. While there was no majority on the number of rate cuts this year, half of the economists surveyed saw two quarter-percentage-point cuts, and a majority said the chances were high or very high that the Fed would hold rates steady for the remainder of 2024.

Key Takeaways

  • Fed's benchmark rate in a "good place", no urgency to cut rates.
  • Powell indicates rates may need to remain elevated to curb inflation.
  • Banks push back expectations for June rate cut, expect one by Sept.
  • Fed's rate decisions impact borrowing costs, investment, financial stability.
  • Economists expect Fed to wait until Sept to cut rates, 2 cuts in 2023.