Weekend Reading: The Powell Put

All it took was two 10% stock market corrections in a single year and some heavy “browbeating” from President Trump to reverse Jerome Powell’s hawkish stance on hiking interest rates.

On Wednesday, Powell took to the microphone to give the markets what they have been longing for – the “Powell Put.” During his speech, Powell took to a different tone than seen previously and specifically when he stated that current rates are “just below” the range of estimates for a “neutral rate.” This is a sharply different tone than seen previously when he suggested that a “neutral rate” was still a long way off.

Importantly, while the market surged higher after the comments on the suggestion the Fed was close to “being done” hiking rates, it also suggests the outlook for inflation and economic growth has fallen. With the Fed Funds rate running at near 2%, if the Fed now believes such is close to a “neutral rate,” it would suggest that expectations of economic growth will slow in the quarters ahead from nearly 6.0% in Q2 of 2018 to roughly 2.5% in 2019.

Such will also correspond with a drop in inflationary pressures, as we noted previously, which is already occurring with the drop in energy prices.

More importantly, falling oil prices are going to put the Fed in a very tough position in the next couple of months as the expected surge in inflationary pressures, in order to justify higher rates, once again fails to appear. The chart below shows breakeven 5-year and 10-year inflation rates versus oil prices.”

But here was the key comment that suggests the recent blasting by President Trump hit home:

Powell says moving too fast would risk shortening U.S. expansion, moving too slow could risk higher inflation and destabilizing financial imbalances.”

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Disclosure: The information contained in this article should not be construed as financial or investment advice on any subject matter. Real Investment Advice is expressly disclaims all liability ...

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