US Fed needs multiple months of falling inflation trajectory to lower rates: Experts

Business Thursday 23/May/2024 08:01 AM
US Fed needs multiple months of falling inflation trajectory to lower rates: Experts

Washington: The U.S. Federal Reserve released the minutes of the May 1st federal policy meeting on Wednesday. The minutes highlight that the members deliberated on the state of financial markets and economic developments. The discussion highlighted concerns about inflation persistence and the overall resilience of the US economy.

"The minutes showed "various participants mentioned a willingness to tighten policy further should risks to inflation materialize in a way that such an action became appropriate." Post this meeting, the April CPI has shown a slight downward trend. The FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) will need multiple months of falling inflation trajectory to lower US rates," said Ajay Bagga, Banking expert.

He further added "As of today, the market is reflecting a 60 per cent chance of a rate cut by the Fed in September 2024 and a 50 per cent chance of 2 rate cuts happening by December 2024. This is a far cry from the 6 rate cuts that were being forecasted at the start of 2024".

During the meeting many Fed officials noted that they were uncertain how restrictive the Fed's rate policies are, the minutes said.

"That suggests that it wasn't clear to the policymakers whether they were doing enough to restrain price growth. High interest rates "may be having smaller effects than in the past," the minutes said.

Policy rate expectations shifted notably in response to these factors, with market indicators suggesting fewer rate cuts by year-end than previously anticipated.

According to the Fed, despite a solid pace of economic expansion and strong job gains, inflation remained elevated and prompted the Committee to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 5.25 per cent to 5.50 per cent.

Federal members emphasized the need for a cautious approach, closely monitoring incoming data and the evolving economic outlook. They expressed a commitment to returning inflation to the Committee's 2 per cent objective.

Additionally, the Committee decided to slow the pace of reducing the Federal Reserve's holdings of Treasury securities and agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities. This adjustment aimed to align with the evolving economic conditions and balance of risks.

The meeting also highlighted the importance of ongoing communication and risk management in achieving the Committee's goals of maximum employment and price stability.

After several unexpectedly high inflation readings, Federal Reserve officials concluded at a meeting earlier this month that it would take longer than they previously thought for inflation to cool enough to justify reducing their key interest rate, now at a 23-year high.

Earlier, US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said a further interest rate hike from here is unlikely and the central bank is currently focused on its restrictive monetary policy stance.

"I think it's unlikely that the next policy rate move will be a hike. I would say it's unlikely. Our policy focus is on how long to keep the policy restrictive," Powell told reporters at a post-monetary policy meeting press conference.

The next meeting is scheduled for June 11-12, where further decisions on monetary policy and open market operations are expected to be made in response to the evolving economic landscape.