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Rate hike in December? Maybe not

Economists lower rate-hike predictions

A rate hike in December was almost a sure-thing, followed by one or two rate hikes next year – all the economists said it. After that, there was debate about what would happen next.

In fact Goldman Sachs even recently predicted the Fed still has a total of five rate hikes to go.

But that is now beginning to shift, and even a rate hike in December may not be happening.

One Federal Reserve member shook the markets when he announced his opinion that the Fed should pause its rate hikes at its December meeting to give itself more time to understand why financial markets have been volatile.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the Fed should move the rate hike up six weeks to the next meeting – pushing the possibility of another rate hike up to 2019.

“You’d get a lot more information about what’s troubling the financial market,” Bullard said.

But Bullard is not a voting member of the Federal Open Markets Committee – yet. He will be a voting member next year, and takes a more dovish approach.

But now, the market is beginning to wonder if a rate hike in December really is imminent.

“The consumer price index was flat month-over-month in November, and was up 2.2% on a YOY basis,” Brent Nyitray, formerly of iServe Residential Lending, explained in a note to his followers. “Ex-food and energy, it was up 0.2% MOM and 2.2% YOY.”

“Inflation remains under control, which gives the Fed an excuse to stand pat next week,” Nyitray continued. “The Fed Funds futures are handicapping an 80% chance of another 25 basis point hike.”

But some experts explained the Fed will continue raising rates for now, before it cuts the in 2020.

“We expect the Fed to raise interest rates twice in the first half of next year, before the slowdown in GDP growth to below potential persuades the Fed to move to the side lines, with the Fed funds target range peaking at 2.75% to 3%,” Capital Economics economists stated in a report. “We then expect the Fed to move quickly and cut rates by 75bp in 2020, which should prevent the slowdown developing into a recession.”

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