Natixis’s LaVorgna Says Wait Until 2024 Election for Rate Hike
(Bloomberg) -- Bond investors looking for a change of direction from the Federal Reserve may have a long wait.
“My guess is we don’t get a tightening until after the next presidential election,” Joseph LaVorgna, Natixis CIB chief economist of the Americas, said in a Tuesday interview on Bloomberg TV’s Surveillance. “If you look at the last two cycles, the average time from the last rate cut to the first rate hike was seven years. So this isn’t really that unusual.”
LaVorgna, who advised former President Donald Trump on financial markets and the economy as special assistant and chief economist of the National Economic Council, said growth is headed for a slowdown in 2022 after a robust economic expansion this year, providing little pressure for the central bank to act on rates.
“Next year I’m thinking growth is only 2%, maybe even less,” he said. “Inflation will be transitory. That’s what the markets are telling us.”
U.S. officials held their benchmark interest rate in a zero to 0.25% range last week. Fed forecasts in June showed rates on hold through 2022.
Consumer prices are rising at the fastest pace since 2008 as the economy reopens and Americans renew spending after a year of lockdowns. Even so, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury bonds continues to shrink, trading Tuesday below 1.18%.
Another big question before the Fed is when to reduce or eliminate its $120 billion in monthly asset purchases, a tool to provide liquidity to financial markets during the Covid-19 pandemic. While some economists see the bank acting as early as next month, LaVorgna said he expects a more-cautious approach.
A so-called Fed taper will wait “until we know what the contours of a budget deal look like,” the Natixis chief economist said. “The Fed will treat the lack of a deal as being contractionary.” Congress may not act on the budget until mid-October or early November, “so I think the Fed is going to wait and see how things evolve. And it’s going to be really hard for the Fed to taper in a slower growth environment,” LaVorgna said.
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