The U.S. Federal Reserve is widely expected to cut its benchmark interest rate by another 25 basis points, or 0.25%, when it holds its meetings in a couple of weeks, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) cut rates by a quarter point in July for the first time in more than a decade amid a slowing global economy. Wall Street, and of course President Donald Trump, would like to see a larger rate cut to the tune of 0.5% and even a full 1% in Trump’s case.
A half-point cut hasn’t gained much support among the Fed voters as the central bank believes the record-long U.S. expansion and recovery from the Great Recession can continue at moderate growth with inflation gradually rising to their 2% target.
“The economy is in a good place, but not without risk and uncertainty,” New York Fed President John Williams said in a speech Wednesday. “Our role is to navigate a complex and at times ambiguous outlook to keep the economy growing and strong.”
There is however a big labor market update coming Friday, plus the latest information and numbers on retail sales and inflation coming next week which could throw a curveball into the proceedings.
Wall Street is already pricing in a 0.25% rate cut probability of 90%, and a 10% chance of a larger cut, according to CME Group.
Increased uncertainty, Williams said, calls for “vigilance and flexibility.”
Powell has previously pointed toward weaker global growth, trade uncertainty with the ongoing U.S.-China trade war and muted inflation as the reasons behind July “mid-cycle adjustment” rate cut down to the 2% to 2.25% range.
Global growth and the trade war have both deteriorated since July’s cut after Trump and China both slapped new tariffs on each other’s imports.
Yields on Treasurys also have fallen to record lows. The 10-year Treasury note was at 2.02% after the Fed’s last rate cut, and it stands at 1.46% now, while yields on the two-year Treasury have fallen from 1.89% to 1.44%.