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04/18/2024 |

Powell Dampens Rate Cut Expectations

This is an image of Jerome Powell.

Central Bank Holds Firm

On Tuesday, top officials at the U.S. Federal Reserve, including Chair Jerome Powell, sharpened their hawkish tone, signaling a reluctance to provide guidance on interest rate cuts. With the current backdrop of three consecutive months of CPI data showing stalled progress on inflation, Powell stated at a forum in Washington, “The recent data have clearly not given us greater confidence, and instead indicate that it’s likely to take longer than expected to achieve that confidence.”

Shifting Expectations

Market expectations for rate cuts have shifted dramatically, with initial hopes for reductions in borrowing costs now further dampened. Analysts and investors had anticipated rate cuts as early as June, but now forecast the first cut in September, with doubts emerging about a second cut. The futures market currently sees an 18.8% chance for the first rate cut occurring in June and a ~68% chance for September.

Assessing Economic Realities

Data since the Fed’s March meeting have shown continued strength in the U.S. economy, with a robust job market, accelerating consumer price increases, and sustained spending by low-income households.

Investors now look forward to the next Fed meeting, which occurs on April 30th-May 1st.