May 22, 2024

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Stocks are sinking as hot inflation dashes hopes for a rate cut

Stocks are sinking as hot inflation dashes hopes for a rate cut

Economists weigh their opinions after US consumer prices rose more than expected in March. General consensus? Don't expect interest rate cuts any time soon.

Reacting to the reading, Seema Shah, chief global strategist at Principle Asset Management, said: “Today’s crucial CPI reading likely sealed the fate of the June FOMC meeting, with a cut now unlikely.” “Launching.” “This marks the third strong reading in a row and means that the stalled deflationary narrative can no longer be described as a blip.

Indeed, even if inflation falls next month to a more comfortable reading, there is likely enough dovishness within the Fed now to mean that the July cut may also be overdone — at which point, the US elections will begin to intervene. “With the Fed’s decision being made,” Shah added.

Investors now expect two 25 basis point cuts this year, down from the six cuts expected at the start of the year, according to Bloomberg data.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.4% from the previous month and 3.5% from a year earlier in March, an acceleration from February's 3.2% annual increase in prices and higher than economists expected.

On a “core” basis, which excludes the more volatile costs of food and gas, prices in March rose 0.4% from the previous month and 3.8% from a year ago – which is consistent with February data. Both measures were also higher than economists' expectations.

Hotter data may push more policymakers “into both camps to cut interest rates,” said Ryan Sweet, chief US economist at Oxford Economics.

“The Fed has a tendency to cut interest rates this year, but the strength of the labor market and recent gains in inflation give the central bank plenty of room to be patient,” Sweet said. “If the Fed does not cut interest rates in June, the window may close until September due to the lack of data released between the June and July meetings that could change the Fed’s calculations.”

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He expected that “the chances are increasing that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates by less than 75 basis points this year.”

But Greg Daco, chief economist at EY, warned investors to be patient: “I think we have to be very careful about this idea that it's a play-by-play process.”

In an interview with Yahoo Finance, he noted, “These type of readings still indicate deflationary pressures. It is still moving in the right direction, and it will take some time.”

Following the data release, markets were pricing in an 80% probability that the Fed would keep interest rates steady at its June meeting. According to CME FedWatch data. This is up from the roughly 40% probability the day before.

More than half of investors are also betting on the central bank remaining steady during its July meeting, with markets now largely anticipating the first cut will come in September.

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