Goldman Sachs (GS - Get Report) analysts aren't expecting the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates before the end of the year, according to a note published Monday, even as investors price in a 60% of at least three cuts from the Federal Open Markets Committee and President Donald Trump renews his criticism of the central bank's chairman.
The call sets the investment against the vast majority of Wall Street analysts, most of which expect at least one, and as many as three, rates cuts from the Fed as the economy slows, job creation wanes and inflation remains muted in the face of deteriorating global trade. Goldman economist Jan Hatzius called their forecast a "close call", but stuck to the bank's prior view that the Fed will hold rates steady until at least 2020.
"It's more than just Jay Powell," Trump told CNBC's Squawk Box program Monday when asked why he remained critical of the Fed's interest rate policy. "We have people on the Fed that really weren't ... they're not my people," he said. "They certainly didn't listen to me because they made a big mistake. They raised interest rates far too fast."
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, was marked 0.3% higher Monday at 96.81, while benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields eased to 2.141% amid a broader risk-market rally fueled by President Donald Trump's decision to suspend tariffs on goods imported from Mexico following a weekend agreement to address a growing migration crisis along the southern U.S. border.
Trump's tariff retreat, however, belies an ongoing concern for the fate of the global economy as he continues to threaten extended levies on China-made goods, and hints at possible tariffs on European carmakers, in what many analysts see as a winning electoral strategy heading into next year's Presidential polls.
The CME Group's FedWatch tool is pricing in little chance of a rate move when the Fed wraps up its next two-day policy meeting on June 19, but sees a 70% chance of a July cut that would take the Fed Funds target rate to between 2% and 2.25%. Traders are also pricing in at least a 68% chance of a second cut before the end of the year, the data suggests, with a 33% chance the target rate will head into 2020 at between 1.5% and 1.75%.
The S&P 500, in fact, has risen more than 5% this month as investors reacted to signals of Fed rate cuts from Vice Chairman Richard Clarida on May 30 in New York, and Chairman Jerome Powell a few days later in Chicago.
"We are closely monitoring the implications of these developments for the U.S. economic outlook and, as always, we will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near our symmetric 2% objective," Powell told a Chicago Fed conference on June 3.
Last week's employment report showed U.S. employers added far fewer jobs than economists had forecast, cementing the case for future rate cuts but also raising concerns over the near-term fate of the world's biggest economy.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said non-farm payrolls grew by 75,000 last month, well shy of the 185,000 forecast. Average hourly wages were pegged at a month-on-month pace of 0.2% while the headline unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6%.
"The May numbers were not startlingly bad, especially in the context of April's strength, so we
expect the Fed to remain patient at this month's FOMC meeting, now that the President has blinked-as we expected-and stepped back from imposing tariffs on Mexico," said Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics.
Beyond this month's meeting, however, the Fed is likely to face both slowing growth dynamics at home and dovish central bank signalling abroad, particularly in China, where PBOC Chairman Yi Gang said the Bank has "tremendous" monetary policy space.
"We have plenty of room in interest rates, we have plenty of room in required reserve ratio rate, and also for the fiscal, monetary policy toolkit," Yi told Bloomberg News in an interview Friday where he also hinted at allowing the yuan to drift below the 7 mark against the U.S. dollar if the trade war were to accelerate further.
"They devalue their currency, they have for years: It's put them at a tremendous competitive advantage," Trump complained to CNBC Monday. "And we don't have that advantage because we have a Fed that doesn't lower interest rates."