Rest easy: The Fed’s punch bowl isn’t going anywhere.
Even if economic conditions improve this year, members of the Federal Reserve agreed that they won’t likely raise interest rates, according to minutes released Wednesday from the Federal Open Market Committee’s two-day meeting that concluded earlier this month.
“Members observed that a patient approach to determining future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate would likely remain appropriate for some time,” the minutes read.
While economic data has largely been positive — unemployment stands at 3.6 percent, a 50-year low, for example — inflation has remained elusive, removing the need for the Fed to hike rates to keep the economy from overheating.
Indeed, some market watchers are betting that the Fed may actually cut rates by the end of the year. The Fed’s latest meeting ended May 1 — several days before trade talks between the US and China began to break down, weighing on markets.
As such, it’s possible that the Fed had optimistically “priced in” a trade agreement before the latest US-China tiff erupted, Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco, said in an e-mailed statement to The Post.
“I believe at the next Fed meeting, we will see a more dovish Fed, one that is more inclined to cut rates this year,” she added.
Hooper isn’t alone in her thinking, as roughly 71 percent of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg anticipate a rate cut by the end of the year.
The Fed had initially projected two rate hikes for 2019 but signaled in January that it was going to hit the pause button after a particularly volatile fourth quarter.
The Fed’s more accommodative stance has been enough for markets to rebound sharply, despite the worsening trade dispute. The S&P 500 is up 14.1 percent this year.