US Fed Rate – A Persisting Dilemma

dollar_1999092bFinancial pundits have been forecasting US Fed rate hike for quite sometime now. However, many internal and external factors have resisted the Federal Reserve from hiking it from the persisting 0.250 per cent. Though the market expected the fed rate to increase in September 2015, it didn’t because the central bank was worried about derailment of resurging U.S. growth due to instability in Chinese economy and economic slowdown. If the minutes of September 16-17 discussions by the board members of Federal Reserve are taken seriously, it might take 9 years to increase the concerned rate.

Why US Fed failed to increase Fed Rate in September 2015?

One of the reasons that restricted board of Federal Reserve from increasing Fed Rate in September 2015 is the dismal job growth data. Per official figures, in September 2015 just 142,000 jobs were added, which is 64,000 jobs lesser than analysts’ expectation. Another figure published by US Labor Department is the “zero” rise in average pay. More alarming is the fact that thousands of workers left their jobs and the participation rate of workers fell to a dismal low, last seen in 1970s. In fact, slow down in Chinese economy also held the board back from increase interest rate.

To top it, US Consumer prices fell by 0.2 per cent during September. In fact, inflation rate has been steadily falling since May 2015, signaling persistent sluggish pace of inflation. This persistent fall is exactly opposite of Fed’s stated target of 2 per cent. All these phenomenon including slowing economy of China, falling inflation (both globally as well as domestically), and market disruptions are again making it difficult for Federal Reserve to increase the interest rate, which is stuck to the current near-zero level (0.25 per cent) since 2008 (the year US economy was in deep recession).

What analysts are Predicting about Fed Rate Hike?

On the expectation of US Fed holding interest rate hike till 2015-end, gold buying is witnessing rally since mid-September. Strength of dollar is also weakening. US Dollar has fallen significantly with respect to other currencies such as Euro in the recent past. Last week, Euro was up against US Dollar by 2.3 per cent, which is a striking phenomenon as Euro fell sharply in the past touching a 12 years low earlier in 2015. These phenomenons gave overall market all the reasons to park its money in the yellow metal for hedging risk.

Colin Hamilton, head of commodities research at Macquarie, said that they conducted a poll in their base metals summit survey earlier this week and found out that most of the audience is expecting a Fed rate hike only after December 2015.

Gold_industryJessica Fung, analyst of metals and mining at BMO Capital Markets, said during a press meet that overall market is currently expecting Fed rate hike around March 2016. She went on to explain that expectation of US Dollar drive gold price and pricing of the futures market is indicating towards a steeper gold price rise in latter part of the year. The momentum of gold price hike is expected to go on along 2016. Along with this increase in price of yellow metal, interest rate increase is expected to be during March 2016.

 

Ref: http://www.global-rates.com/interest-rates/central-banks/central-bank-america/fed-interest-rate.aspx

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/15/us-ecb-fed-idUSKCN0S906320151015

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/fed-minutes-september-1.3263358

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/02/us-economy-adds-only-142000-jobs-raising-doubts-about-interest-rate-rise

http://www.investordaily.com.au/markets/38362-fed-rate-hike-good-for-economy

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/15/gold-price-move-points-to-fed-rate-hike-in-2016.html

http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-consumer-prices-fall-0-2-in-september-1444912347

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/21/is-the-us-headed-for-negative-interest-rates-commentary.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthasharf/2015/10/21/ben-bernanke-fed-rate-hike-is-a-risk-management-decision/