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Fed to lift rates by 75 basis points in July, 50 bps in September – Reuters poll

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve building is seen before the Federal Reserve board is expected to signal plans to raise interest rates in March as it focuses on fighting inflation in Washington, U.S., January 26, 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Phot

By Prerana Bhat and Indradip Ghosh

BENGALURU (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve will deliver another 75-basis-point interest rate hike in July, followed by a half-percentage-point rise in September, and won’t scale back to quarter-percentage-point moves until November at the earliest, according to economists polled by Reuters.

Last week the Fed hiked the federal funds rate by three-quarters of a percentage point, its largest rate increase since 1994, after official data just a few days earlier showed inflation unexpectedly rose despite expectations it had peaked.

The latest poll results, released on Wednesday before Fed Chair Jerome Powell was due to appear before the Senate Banking Committee as part of his twice-yearly monetary policy testimony to Congress, show momentum is still behind the U.S. central bank doing more, not less, despite rising recession concerns and a steep sell-off in financial markets. Bond yields are up sharply and major Wall Street equity indexes are already trading in a bear market, defined as 20% down from their peak.

In the June 17-21 Reuters poll, nearly three-quarters of economists, 67 of 91, expected another 75-basis-point U.S. rate hike in July. That would take the fed funds rate to a range of 2.25%-2.50%, roughly the neutral level where the Fed estimates the economy is neither stimulated nor restricted.

A strong majority expect the central bank to hike its policy rate by another 50 basis points in September, with opinion more split on whether it will hike by 25 or 50 basis points in November. A majority expect the Fed to raise rates by 25 basis points at its December meeting.

That would take the fed funds rate to a range of 3.25%-3.50% by the end of this year, 75 basis points higher than thought in a poll published just two weeks ago.

Powell last week signaled that a pause in the current tightening cycle would only be possible after a meaningful decline in inflation, which currently looks to be a more distant prospect than thought just a few weeks ago.

“Since the Fed is still underestimating the inflation problem … not recognizing that a wage-price spiral has already started, we expect they will have to raise rates faster than they now expect,” Philip Marey, senior U.S. strategist at Rabobank, wrote in a note.

“Unfortunately, the hiking path is also likely to be followed by a recession.”

Graphic: Reuters Poll – US economy and Federal fund rate outlook – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/polling/egvbkgazjpq/Reuters%20Poll-%20US%20economy%20and%20Fed%20rate%20outlook.PNG

Inflation will remain above the Fed’s 2% target until at least 2025, according to its own projections and a separate Reuters poll. [ECILT/US]

Although the Fed was expected to shift down to 25-basis-point rate hikes in November, a significant minority, around 40%, expected a 50-basis-point hike at that month’s meeting. Only a handful said the Fed would pause its rate hikes at some point this year.

Around three-quarters of respondents, 68 of 91, saw the end-year rate at 3.25%-3.50% or higher, in line with the Fed’s own “dot plot” showing policymakers’ projections.

Aggressive rate hikes come with their own risks, as reflected in the Fed’s economic projections where forecasts for the U.S. unemployment rate were raised significantly and economic growth was predicted to average below trend.

The poll predicted only one 25-basis-point hike in the first quarter of next year, pushing the federal funds rate to 3.50%-3.75%, the possible terminal rate.

The Fed was expected to pause in the second and third quarters of 2023 and cut rates by 25 basis points in the final quarter of next year, according to the median forecast from a smaller sample. But forecasts for where the fed funds rate will be by the end of 2023 ranged between 2.50%-2.75% and 4.25%-4.50%, underscoring high uncertainty.

Despite Powell saying the Fed was not trying to induce a recession, a few primary dealers have either started predicting one as early as this year or have brought forward their recession calls.

Economy

Futures rise as easing China COVID curbs lift travel, leisure stocks

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© Reuters. A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., June 22, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) – Travel and leisure shares propped up U.S. stock index futures after China relaxed some COVID-19 quarantine requirements for international travelers, raising hopes of a revival in global growth.

Airlines, cruises, casinos and hotels were among the gainers in premarket trading after China’s slashing of the quarantine time for inbound travelers by half boosted hopes of a big jump in international travel and spending.

Shares of Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) Inc rose 2.5% to top the list of gainers on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, after the company’s Shanghai Disney Resort said it would reopen the Disneyland theme park on June 30 after being shut for more than three months.

Spirit Airlines (NYSE:SAVE) and American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) Group Inc were the biggest gainers in the sector, rising 4% and 2% respectively.

Melco Resorts jumped 10% and led the rise in the casino sector, closely followed by Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN), MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM) International.

Wall Street’s main indexes started the week on soft footing after worries of surging inflation and an aggressive Federal Reserve dominated sentiment amid few market moving catalysts till the start of earnings season in two weeks.

Investors are now looking at data to determine whether the economy can withstand large interest rate hikes by the U.S. central bank to stamp out inflation.

A survey from the Conference Board is expected to show its consumer confidence index slipped to a reading of 100.4 in June, from 106.4 in May, at 10 a.m. ET.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are set to post losses in June and are on course to log two straight quarterly declines for the first time since 2015.

At 6:49 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 175 points, or 0.56%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 20 points, or 0.51%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 52.25 points, or 0.43%.

Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) shed 2.8% as it forecast first-quarter revenue below estimates on expectations of more discounts and pandemic-related disruptions in China, its most profitable market.

Occidental Petroleum Corp (NYSE:OXY) climbed 3.1% after top investor Warren Buffett raised stake in the shale producer.

China ADRs also rose on Beijing easing its COVID curbs, with e-commerce firms Alibaba (NYSE:BABA).com, JD (NASDAQ:JD).com and Pinduoduo (NASDAQ:PDD) up between 1.2% and 1.4%

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Economy

Euro below $1.06 as Lagarde keeps July policy options open

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© Reuters. A shopper pays with a ten Euro bank note at a local market in Nice, France, June 7, 2022. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

By Saikat Chatterjee

LONDON (Reuters) – The Aussie and the Canadian dollar climbed on Tuesday on firmer oil prices while the euro held below $1.06 as European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde offered no fresh insight on the central bank’s policy outlook.

The ECB is widely expected to follow its global peers by raising interest rates in July to check soaring inflation though economists are divided on the magnitude of the rate hike to protect a struggling economic recovery due to high oil prices.

Oil prices are up 10% in barely a week on supply constraint concerns with Brent crude holding above $117, pushing the Canadian dollar and the Australian dollar up 0.3% and 0.4% respectively. [O/R]

“Oil is helping the Norwegian crown and the Canadian dollar to outperform and the euro is again running into resistance at the 1.06 level,” said Kenneth Broux, an FX strategist at Societe Generale (OTC:SCGLY) in London.

The euro held below $1.06 after the ECB’s Lagarde said the central bank would move gradually but with the option to act decisively on any deterioration in medium-term inflation, especially if there were signs of a de-anchoring of inflation expectations.

Money markets are pricing in about 238 basis points (bps) of cumulative rate hikes by mid-2023 compared to around 280 bps two weeks ago.

Broader currency market moves were contained in a big week for markets in economic data terms. German inflation figures are due on Wednesday, French data on Thursday and euro zone numbers on Friday.

At the other end of the dial, higher oil prices caused the partially convertible Indian rupee to open at a record low, and fall further to 78.67 per dollar.

The U.S. dollar index struck a two-decade high of 105.79 this month and was last steady at 103.93.

Elsewhere, the offshore Chinese yuan moved higher after China reduced COVID quarantine for international travellers.

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Economy

China’s economy recovering but foundation not solid, premier says

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is seen on a screen as he attends a news conference via video link after the closing session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Ryan Woo

BEIJING (Reuters) -China’s economy has recovered to some extent, but its foundation is not solid, state media on Tuesday quoted Premier Li Keqiang as saying.

China will strive to drive the economy back onto a normal track and bring down the jobless rate as soon as possible, Li was quoted as saying.

“Currently, the implementation of the policy package to stabilise the economy is accelerating and taking effect. The economy has recovered on the whole, but the foundation is not yet solid,” Li was quoted as saying.

“The task of stabilising employment remains arduous.”

China’s economy showed signs of recovery in May after slumping the previous month as industrial production revived, but consumption remained weak and underlined the challenge for policymakers amid the persistent drag from strict COVID-19 curbs.

China’s nationwide survey-based jobless rate fell to 5.9% in May from 6.1% in April, still above the government’s 2022 target of below 5.5%.

In particular, the surveyed jobless rate in 31 major cities picked up to 6.9%, the highest on record. Some economists expect employment to worsen before it gets better, with a record number of graduates entering the workforce in summer.

Li vowed to achieve reasonable economic growth in the second quarter, although some private-sector economists expect the economy to shrink in the April-June quarter from a year earlier, compared with the first quarter’s 4.8% growth.

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