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Federal Reserve Signals Three Rate Cuts in 2022


The Federal Reserve is expected to implement three quarter-point rate cuts this year, according to officials. The release of the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) December meeting will provide further insight into the factors that led to this decision.

Scheduled for release at 2 p.m., the minutes of the December 12-13 meeting will shed light on how Fed officials’ perspectives on the economy have evolved in recent months. Additionally, they will reveal which economic data points policymakers are emphasizing when formulating their economic projections.

During the meeting, the Fed decided to maintain the target for the federal funds rate at a range of 5.25-5.50%. FOMC members also issued their Summary of Economic Projections, forecasting a median federal funds rate of 4.6% by the end of this year.

This projection for rate cuts aligns with the deceleration of inflation. In November, the overall personal-consumption expenditures Price Index saw a decline to a 2.6% annual pace, compared to its peak of 7.1% in mid-2022. So far, this disinflationary trend has had minimal impact, with unemployment remaining at record lows and last year’s economic growth projected to exceed average levels.

Investors Anticipate More Interest Rate Cuts in 2024

Investors are foreseeing a greater number of interest-rate cuts in 2024 compared to the Federal Reserve’s forecast, as indicated by the CME FedWatch Tool. Moreover, some economists and investors are even more optimistic, betting that policy makers will go beyond these expectations. UBS chief U.S. economist, Jonathan Pingle, for instance, stated in an interview with CNBC that he expects the interest rates to drop below 3% by December. Pingle predicts that the central bank will initiate rate cuts in March due to the faster decline in inflation compared to the projections made by FOMC members, with this trend continuing into 2024.

Powell’s Remarks Fuel Market Optimism

After the postmeeting press conference last month, investors interpreted Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s remarks in a more dovish manner, leading to a market rally before Christmas. During the press conference on December 13th, Powell expressed that it was still too early to confirm that the Fed had completely ceased raising rates. However, he praised the progress made in combatting inflation and did not rule out the possibility of discussions on rate cuts.

Powell acknowledged that declaring victory over inflation prematurely would be inappropriate, but he mentioned that the topic of dialing back policy restraint and initiating rate cuts was becoming clearer and was being actively discussed both within and outside the Federal Reserve.

New York Fed President Pushes Back on Fed Rate Cut Talk

In a recent CNBC interview, New York Fed President John Williams expressed a different viewpoint than Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell regarding the potential for rate cuts. While Powell suggested that the Fed was considering lowering rates, Williams stated that Fed officials were not currently discussing this option.

Williams emphasized that the focus at the moment is on ensuring that monetary policy is restrictive enough to drive inflation down to the target of 2%. This suggests that the Fed is prioritizing the need to maintain price stability over any potential rate cuts.

It is evident from Williams’ comments that the Federal Reserve is keeping a close eye on the current economic situation and adopting a cautious approach in its decision-making process. There seems to be an emphasis on achieving long-term economic stability, rather than an immediate response to short-term market fluctuations.

Overall, Williams’ remarks provide valuable insights into the current stance of the Federal Reserve, indicating their commitment to pursuing a monetary policy that supports their inflation target.

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