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On The Road To Rate Cuts, Markets Asking "Are We There Yet?" (Spoiler Alert: No)

Back in late 2023, we got in the car with the Federal Reserve with the promise of a trip to our favorite place: the land of lower interest rates. In 2024, we keep asking “are we there yet?” The more we ask, the farther we seem to be from the destination. This trip began with all the best intentions. Softer inflation and cooler economic data led the Fed to expect an opportunity to cut rates several times in 2024.  The Fed communicated as much in mid-December.  Markets took things a step further with futures contracts pricing in 6 cuts by the end of the year.  “6 rate cuts” was a refrain that echoed throughout the mortgage and housing industries.  Suddenly, too many people were risking disappointment by not understanding the HIGHLY conditional logic behind the 6 cut mantra. It wasn’t necessarily a mistake for the market to get so far ahead of the Fed’s official outlook.  After all, the Fed has a history of cutting rates MUCH faster than its projections suggest.  But the decision would ultimately be dependent on continued progress on inflation, and more economic cooling. With the release of this week’s inflation data, we now have two consecutive months that raise serious objections to the notion that the Fed will be able to cut any time soon.   This is a chart of the core Consumer Price Index (CPI) in year over year terms.  This is the inflation metric that the Fed wants to see at 2% and they’ve been clear in saying they can cut rates if they’re confident that we’ll get there.  It shows clear, substantial progress toward that goal:
Source: mortgagenewsdaily.comNew feed

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