Jan 7, 2019

No one believes the Fed

Data: CME FedWatch Tool; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Data: CME FedWatch Tool; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Federal Reserve has forecast raising U.S. interest rates twice this year but Fed fund futures rates show almost no one is betting they'll go through with it.

Why it matters: The moves in the Fed funds futures market suggest investors are positioning for a major economic event that forces the Fed's hand.

  • It's not unheard of for market participants to doubt the Federal Reserve's expected rate hike path. In 2016, after the Fed raised interest rates for the first time in a decade and projected four hikes, Fed funds futures prices showed traders betting on zero hikes. (They were wrong, and the Fed raised rates thrice.)
  • Still, this is a little different, because the market is pricing in an interest rate cut for 2019, which hasn't been suggested or even hinted at by anyone on the Fed's rate setting committee.
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