Traders see nearly 1-in-3 chance of half-point Fed rate increase in March after PCE data

The Federal Reserve’s recent release of the January Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) inflation data has caused a stir among traders of fed funds futures. The data has led to an increase in the likelihood of a half-a-percentage-point rate increase by the Federal Reserve in March, rising from 27% a day ago to 32.9%. If this rate increase were to take effect, it would bring the fed funds futures rate target to between 5% and 5.25% by next month. Furthermore, traders have factored in a greater likelihood that rates could get to around 6% by July, with the odds of this occurring rising to 7.6% from 4.2% a day ago.

The PCE data, which showed the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge jumping, has also had a significant impact on the Treasury yields across the board. The policy-sensitive 2-year rate has risen to 4.78% in morning trading, indicating that the markets are expecting further rate hikes in the near future.

Given the current economic climate, it is not surprising that the Federal Reserve is considering raising interest rates. The US economy is currently in a period of strong growth, with unemployment at its lowest level in 18 years and wages increasing at the fastest rate since 2009. In addition, consumer spending is at an all-time high, and the stock market has been hitting record highs. With such strong economic indicators, it is understandable that the Federal Reserve is considering raising interest rates in order to keep the economy from overheating.

The Federal Reserve is also likely to be concerned about inflationary pressures. Although the PCE data showed that the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge rose, inflation remains low by historical standards. However, the Fed is likely to be wary of the potential for inflation to increase in the near future, as the US economy continues to expand. Higher interest rates can help to keep inflation in check by making it more expensive for people and businesses to borrow money.

At the same time, the Federal Reserve must also be conscious of the potential for higher interest rates to slow economic growth. Higher interest rates make it more expensive for people and businesses to borrow money, which can lead to a decrease in consumer spending and investment. This, in turn, could lead to slower economic growth.

Ultimately, the Federal Reserve must strike a balance between keeping inflation in check and maintaining economic growth. The recent PCE data has led to an increase in the likelihood of a rate increase in March, but the Fed must take into account all of the economic factors before making a decision. If the Fed does decide to raise rates, it must do so in a way that does not stifle economic growth. Only time will tell if the Fed’s decision will be the right one.


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