No Fed hike for now but don't rule out more in 2019


No Fed hike for now but dont rule out more in 2019
Futures markets are wagering the US Federal Reserve will not raise interest rates for all of 2019.

washington - Futures markets are wagering the central bank will actually stand pat for all of 2019

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Published: Sun 27 Jan 2019, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 3 Feb 2019, 10:16 AM

The US Federal Reserve will hold its fire this week, leaving interest rates untouched and letting markets calm down after a tumultuous end to 2018.

Coming off Wall Street's worst December since the Great Depression and amid mounting fears about the global economy, Fed policymakers are now unanimously hammering a single message: they will be "patient" before pulling the trigger again.

Fed chairman Jerome Powell is likely to stick to that script when he announces the Federal Open Market Committee's latest monetary policy decision on Wednesday.

Futures markets are wagering the central bank will actually stand pat for all of 2019, with a growing share betting the Fed could even begin cutting interest rates as soon as next December. Maybe they should think again.

While a cold wind blew at the end of last year, gathering conditions suggest the Fed could feel compelled to raise the key lending rate as soon as the spring, economists say.

"I think the danger here now is that markets are now expecting nothing," Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said.

"The Fed could swing around on a dime once it becomes clear that the things that have scared them are no longer very scary."

The month-long partial shutdown of the federal government has been resolved with a provision agreement announced on Friday between the White House and Congress, but was already gnawing away at GDP. Had the closure, which idled 800,000 federal workers, continued through March, it could have choked first quarter growth to "zero," chief White House economist Kevin Hassett said last week. - AFP

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