June rate cut bets slashed after hot CPI, hawkish minutes- CME Fedwatch

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June rate cut bets slashed after hot CPI, hawkish minutes- CME Fedwatch

Investing.com-- Markets sharply cut their expectations for a June rate cut by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday following hotter-than-expected inflation data and hawkish-leaning minutes from the central bank’s March meeting.

The CME Fedwatch tool showed traders were now pricing in an only 17.5% chance for a 25 basis point rate cut in June- down sharply from the 61.1% seen last week. 

Expectations for a hold ballooned to a 81.8% probability, more than doubling from the 37.1% seen last week. 

The tool uses the 30-day prices of Fed fund futures contracts traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to gauge market expectations for the Fed’s policy rate.

A hawkish outlook for the Fed saw the dollar index surge to a near five-month high on Wednesday, while 10-year U.S. Treasury yields also shot up to near five-month peaks. Conversely, risk-driven assets tumbled with the S&P 500 losing nearly 1% on Wednesday.

Sticky inflation fears furthered by hot CPI 

Consumer price index data showed on Wednesday that inflation grew more than expected in March. 

The reading- which beat expectations for a fourth consecutive month- furthered the notion that a downturn in inflation seen through 2023 was now slowing, with inflation likely to remain pinned well above the Fed’s 2% annual target in the coming months. 

Rising commodity prices- specifically fuel- as well as robust consumer spending factored into the higher inflation print. These factors are expected to remain in play over the coming months, especially with oil prices remaining underpinned by persistent tensions in the Middle East.

Fed minutes show officials considering higher-for-longer rates

The minutes of the Fed’s March meeting showed that even before Wednesday’s strong inflation print, Fed officials were already growing concerned over inflation remaining sticky.

Several officials posited the need for higher-for-longer interest rates, and even floated the possibility of more rate hikes. 

A slew of Fed officials had warned in recent weeks that sticky inflation remained the Fed’s biggest concern, and that the trend was likely to delay any potential reductions in rates this year. 

Relative strength in the U.S. economy- which largely outpaced its developed world peers in recent quarters- gives the Fed enough headroom to keep rates higher for longer. 

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