As expected, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 50 basis points at the December Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. That pushed the federal funds rate to 4.5%. The last time rates were this high was in 2007. That’s bad news for an economy addicted to easy money.
While the pace of rate hikes slowed, the messaging coming out of the Fed was substantially the same as the November meeting.
The Federal Reserve got just the news it needed to plausibly go forward with a soft pivot in its monetary policy and begin to slow its pace of rate hikes. But while price inflation appears to be retreating, it’s far from beat.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for November came in lower than expected, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Will the Federal Reserve pivot? That’s the question on everybody’s mind.
But why does it matter so much?
The US government ran a massive $248.5 billion deficit in November, according to the latest Monthly Treasury Statement. There was only one month in fiscal 2022 with a bigger budget shortfall. This is bad news for the Federal Reserve as it tries to raise interest rates and shrink its balance sheet to fight price inflation.
Stocks have struggled in recent days due to some better-than-expected economic data and more hawkish talk from Fed officials. This has revived fears that the Federal Reserve could make a mistake and raise rates too high and keep them there too long, sparking a recession. In his podcast, Peter Schiff said the markets are worried about the wrong mistake.
Beyond allegations of mismanagement and outright fraud, the collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange reveals a more fundamental problem — the power of speculative manias fueled by central-bank easy money.
Peter Schiff recently appeared on NTD Capital Report to talk about the collapse of FTX, saying ultimately it was the Federal Reserve’s fault. And it is a warning sign for the broader economy.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell came out this week and indicated the central bank is set to pivot away from its aggressive rate hikes. But he couched the announcement in hawkish terms. The markets bought the pivot and ignored the hawkishness. In this episode of the Friday Gold Wrap podcast, host Mike Maharrey puts Powell’s remarks in a broader context and speculates about what might be coming down the pike.
Inflation was running rampant for months before the Federal Reserve launched its inflation fight. As you’ll recall, we were told over and over again that inflation was transitory. But now that the central bank is on the job, most people are confident Powell and Company can get rising prices back under control.
Perhaps they shouldn’t be so confident.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell all but confirmed a soft pivot by the central bank in its inflation fight on Wednesday, while trying to maintain a hawkish demeanor.
The markets appear to be buying the pivot, but they are ignoring Powell’s “tough guy” spin.
In another bad sign for a housing bubble that is quickly deflating, investor purchases of single-family homes tanked in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, overall home sales continue to tumble and prices are falling.