U.S.: Fed cuts but future path is uncertain

U.S.: Fed cuts but future path is uncertain

As expected, the Federal Reserve lowered the overnight Fed Funds rate by 25bp from a range of 2%-2.25% to 1.75%-2%. The statement accompanying the move was largely unchanged, citing strength in the labor market and consumption but weakness in business investment, exports and inflation. Also lending support to the decision was “...the implications of global developments for the economic out­look…” (trade war, Brexit, etc.). However the future evolution of rates became more uncertain as two Fed members dissented, wanting to keep rates unchanged, while another dissented and wanted to cut rates by 50bp. Similarly the “dot-plot” showing where Fed members expect rates to be at the end of 2019 and 2020 showed wide dispersion. Ten of the 17 members expect that rates would not fall below the current level, but seven expect another cut this year. Futures markets put the odds of another cut at 59% and EH believes that more cuts are in store. The cuts are intended to support the economy in the face of a slowing labor market, a contraction in manufacturing and a possible rise in trade tensions.