The Fed just predicted a pretty bad economy — and the markets took notice


The Federal Reserve (Fed) introduced on September 21 that it raised rates of interest by 75 foundation factors, or three-quarters of a proportion level.

The choice got here a day after the Atlanta Federal Reserve dropped its much-watched estimate of third-quarter 2022 GDP (“GDP now”) to only 0.3 p.c on Sept. It recorded -1.28 p.c, when the Federal Reserve in Atlanta anticipated it to print at +0.3 p.c. (Transfer your cursor over every bar, right here, to see the interplay between the “GDP Now” gadgets.)

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(GDP Now launch date parts for Q3 2022 GDPR)

The 75 foundation level enhance was largely priced out there, and most observers anticipated it. Some anticipated — and feared — an increase of 100 foundation factors, or 1 p.c. With that mentioned, the market reacted negatively to the speed hike, and the Dow Jones Industrial Common fell 1.7%. The benchmark S&P 500 fell by the identical proportion.

What rattled the market gave the impression to be the so-called disappointing “dot plots” by the Federal Reserve, the official “Abstract of Financial Outlook”, additionally launched on September 21, ready by members of the Federal Open Market Committee, a coverage Federal Reserve Financial institution. – Making the arm and its crew.

Dot charts are principally predictions concerning the future course of the economic system on the finish of the yr within the present years, the following three years and the long term, analyzing gross home product (GDP), unemployment, inflation, and rates of interest.

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(Federal Reserve Outlook Abstract)


Not one of the forecasts are good. As proven within the set of columns on the far proper, the GDP vary has moved from -0.3 p.c in 2023 to 2.6 p.c in 2024. The so-called “central development”, the place most estimates are typically (the highest three and the underside three It) – and my greatest estimate – confirmed a GDP development of not more than 2%.

I can solely assume that even the central development vary of the estimates is optimistic. I think inflation could have an extended tail than the 2023/2024 lows that the central development will point out. I might anticipate that the federal funds price, the speed that the Fed expenses its member banks, ought to be within the 5-6 p.c vary to scale back the speed of inflation, particularly if job energy (which we frequently attribute to a low labor participation price) continues . (The 5-6 p.c we predict is critical is the speed to maintain inflation steady on the Fed’s most well-liked price of two p.c; what Fed watchers name the “remaining rate of interest.”)

The flip aspect to decreasing inflation is decreasing the Federal Reserve’s steadiness sheet. Whereas the Federal Reserve elevated the Fed’s asset “burn” to $95 billion this month, we have lengthy felt that quantity wasn’t sufficient. The property – which include Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) – could be bought somewhat than “burned”. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell mentioned he didn’t rule out that risk, no less than for MBS, however not for now. Promoting Mohammed bin Salman would scale back the money steadiness within the economic system, creating some liquidity danger, but additionally scale back inflation.

One facet of the continued rise in rates of interest is the continued dominance of the US greenback within the foreign money markets. For multinational corporations, this can result in decrease earnings from overseas as earnings are translated. As we wrote earlier this week, corporations like Federal Categorical will undergo a lot of these translation losses along with margin stress.

We revised our GDP estimates for the quarter to -0.5%.

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JJ Collins

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JJ Collins is the managing director of Stuyvesant Sq. Consultancy, a technique consulting, market survey, and New York-based consulting agency. His writings on economics, commerce, politics, and public coverage have appeared in Forbes, The New York Submit, Crains New York Enterprise, The Hill, The American Conservative, and different publications.