Markets’ high-octane boost if Fed Chair Powell signals rate rise step down

“Markets will be given a high-octane boost should the Federal Reserve chair support expectations that it will begin to step down from its interest rate hike agenda in December,” predicts Nigel Green, CEO of deVere Group.

The chief executive of deVere, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory, asset management and fintech organisations, is speaking ahead of Jerome Powell’s speech at the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institute on Wednesday afternoon.

He says: “Investors are now less worried about the end of this year. They’re already planning their positions for 2023 and, as such, looking for clues as to whether the world’s most influential central bank will begin to wind down its program of aggressive interest rate hikes.

“In his speech, we expect Powell will signal that rate hikes will continue into next year but that they are working in slowing runaway inflation. 

“We believe he will say that consumer spending has slowed, the property market is cooler, and business investment has fallen, but that the labour market is still very tight.

“He is also likely to mention the months of lag-time before the full effect of rate hikes work their way fully into the economy.”

In March 2022, the Fed raised its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to the range of 0.25% to 0.50%. The rate hike marked the first time since 2018 that the Fed has increased rates.

Since then, the central bank has pushed rates higher at every meeting. In September, with inflation still running hot, the Federal Reserve increased the target for the federal funds rate by another 0.75% to a range of 3% – 3.25%. 

The deVere CEO continues: “We anticipate Powell will reinforce expectations of a shift to a 50-basis-point rate hike on Wednesday.”

He concludes: “The Fed will not want to over-excite the markets. Therefore he will still sound pretty hawkish, but any indication of stepping down on rate hikes, which we expect, will fuel markets.”

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