Calls for Fed pause in June suffer blow as sticky inflation persists
Investing.com — The latest economic data released Friday showing the U.S. consumer isn’t ready to tap out yet, and inflation is back on the up and up has dramatically tipped the scales in the favor of June Federal Reserve rate hike, leaving some on Wall Street nervously clutching onto their calls for a pause in June.
About 70% of traders now expect the Fed to hike rates in June, compared with just 15% last week, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.
Goldman Sachs maintained its view that the Fed will pause in June, but conceded that the data on Friday showing stronger consumer spending and hotter inflation “make this a close call.”
The core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, which excludes food and energy, rose 4.7% in the 12 months through April, above estimates of 4.6% and still well above the Fed’s 2% target.
A deeper dive into the data showed that the core services ex-rent component – a measure closely watched by Fed chairman Jerome Powell – rose 0.42%, which was the biggest increase in three months.
Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, jumped 0.8% last month, compared with economists’ estimates for 0.4%.
Still, there are some who believe that consumers won’t be able to dip into their savings for much longer as the bite from higher inflation looks set to continue.
“We estimate that consumers have run through over 60% of their accumulated savings from during the pandemic, and the current pace of dis-savings suggest it will be all gone in 11 months,” Jefferies said in a note.
Optimism that a U.S. debt ceiling deal will shortly be announced, meanwhile, has bolstered sentiment on risk assets, and could also potentially persuade the Fed to go again in June.
Negotiators in Washington are closing on a potential deal to lift the U.S. debt limit and cap federal spending for two years through 2024, according to media reports.
While a June rate hike is now firmly on the table, there still remains a slew of data that Fed policymakers will be keen to assess ahead of the June 13-14 meeting.
“If a debt ceiling deal is agreed then it’s back to the markets being more data-led and hence the U.S. data next week culminating with the jobs report will be key,” MUFG said in a note.
Consumer confidence, ISM manufacturing, a slew of Fed speak, the Fed’s Beige Book and the all-important May jobs report are among a number of key economic data releases slated for next week.
Others on Wall Street believe that the incoming data will not only support another hike in June, but in July also.
Incoming data will keep the Fed on track to hike 25 basis points in both June and July, Citi says, to a terminal policy rate of 5.50%-7.75%.