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Federal Reserve Official Cautions Markets On Premature Interest Rate Cut Expectations

Posted December 18, 2023 at 10:45 am
Piero Cingari


  • A senior Federal Reserve official cautions against premature interest rate cuts, aligning with other FOMC members’ views.
  • Declining Treasury yields boost stocks, easing corporate debt pressure and benefiting consumers.

In an exclusive interview with the Financial Times, a senior Federal Reserve official has sounded a note of caution, warning that financial markets might be getting ahead of themselves in anticipating early interest rate cuts in the coming year.

What Happened

Loretta Mester, the President of the Cleveland Fed, has pushed back on the prevailing market sentiment, suggesting that the central bank might not be in a hurry to reduce borrowing costs. Mester’s statements echo the sentiments expressed recently by two other Federal Reserve Open Market Commitee (FOMC) voting members for 2024, namely John Williams of the New York Fed and Atlanta’s Raphael Bostic.

The Fed’s December “dot plot” provided a median preference for the federal funds rate at the close of 2024 at 4.6%, implying a reduction of 75 basis points from present levels. Further projections indicate rates of 3.6% in 2025 and 2.9% in 2026.

Mester, who is set to retire in June after a decade at the helm of the Cleveland Fed, shared her forecast of three quarter-point rate cuts in the next year. She based this prediction on her anticipation that inflation would continue to moderate as economic growth cools, and unemployment experiences a slight uptick, ultimately leading to what she described as a soft landing.

Mester remarked in her interview with the Financial Times that the upcoming phase for the Fed doesn’t revolve around when to cut rates, despite market consensus leaning in that direction. She hinted that it would imply how long the Fed will have to maintain a restrictive monetary policy stance to ensure that inflation makes a sustainable and timely return to the 2 percent target.

These views diverge sharply from the prevailing market outlook concerning future Fed interest rates. According to the latest data from CME Group’s FedWatch tool, the market assigns a 73% probability to the first rate cut happening in March, along with an aggregate expectation of a total of six rate cuts for 2024.

Why It Matters: 

The trigger for this change in market sentiment stemmed from a notably more dovish communication by Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Powell, although displaying faith in the Fed’s ability to manage inflation, acknowledged the emergence of a discussion among officials concerning the possibility of implementing rate reductions.

The adjustment in the Federal Reserve’s policy stance has led to a decline in U.S. Treasury yields across various maturity periods. Currently, the 10-year Treasury bond, as monitored by the U.S. 10-Year Treasury Note ETF, is trading at a yield of 3.91%, marking its lowest level since late July.

The decline in Treasury yields is fueling an extended surge in the stock market, with major equity indices trading at or near their record highs.

Lower anticipated borrowing costs are alleviating the financial burden on American corporations, making it easier for them to manage their debt obligations or consider new loan opportunities. Simultaneously, it is likely to provide some relief for U.S. consumers, as they will encounter reduced interest rates in their spending-related activities and mortgage obligations.

Originally Posted December 18, 2023 – Federal Reserve Official Cautions Markets On Premature Interest Rate Cut Expectations

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One thought on “Federal Reserve Official Cautions Markets On Premature Interest Rate Cut Expectations”

  • Sam Miller

    There is more than interest rate that affects the market. The momentum is so strong that the fed can’t stop it. Also the crypto currency has added a lot to the capital.

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