4 of 5 economists agree more Fed hikes coming: Survey

Businesses and investors should brace themselves for higher U.S. interest rates.

A survey released Monday from the National Association for Business Economics showed a large number of economists expect the Federal Reserve to continue hiking rates this year. In total, 80 percent of economists said they expect the Fed to hike at least once.

Thirty-nine percent said they expect the Fed to raise rates twice this year, 24 percent believe the central bank will only hike once this year, while 17 percent are expecting at least three.

The Fed raised rates for the first time in nearly a decade last December, but interest rates are still low when compared to historical levels.

"While slightly more than half of survey respondents believe that the current monetary policy stance of the Fed is 'about right,' nearly 31 percent indicate that current policy is too stimulative," Lisa Emsbo-Mattingly, NABE president, said in a statement.

Approximately two-thirds of the economists polled said they expect inflation to be close to the Fed's 2 percent inflation target by year's end, while 13 percent believe inflation will be significantly over.

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Nonetheless, the Fed's ability to stay on its normalization path has been put to question, given the fall in commodity prices, volatility in global equity markets, and fears of an economic slowdown around the world.

According to the CME Group's FedWatch tool, the Fed is not expected to raise rates this year until December, while the probabilities of a rate hike in November are 49 percent.

As of Friday, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average were down more than 2 percent for the year, while the Nasdaq composite had fallen about 6 percent.

Methodology: The semiannual survey was conducted by polling 252 members of the National Association for Business Economics from Feb. 10-17.

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