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Former Fed President: Don't Bet On Rate Cut

Tuesday, 12 Dec 2006 | 10:50 AM ET
Laurence Meyer
AP
Laurence Meyer

--we told you what former Fed Governor Laurence Meyer had to say about the Fed's meeting today. He's pretty confident things will stay the same. Many agree--that the Fed will leave the federal funds rate unchanged - at 5.25%. That's where interest rates have been since June. Even though official word won't come until 2:15 p.m. ET - investors are already wondering just how long interest rates will remain right where they are.

We now get another former Fed official's take. On “Morning Call” CNBC’s Liz Claman discussed what's ahead with Former Atlanta Fed President William Ford and Carl Tannenbaum--who is Chief Economist with Lasalle Bank.

What's Ahead for the Fed?
A look at what the Fed will be watching most closely in the New Year and how long the rate pause will continue, William Ford, Fmr. Atlanta Fed President; Carl Tannenbaum, LaSalle Bank Chief Economist; and CNBC's Liz Claman.

William Ford said the Fed is going to stay tuned into inflation. "You're not going to see a cut unless The Fed feels comfortable with the 'year over year' inflation getting down into their target of 1 - 2% - or a dramatic slowdown in the economy when 4Q figures come out in January. But, I wouldn't bet on a cut at their January meeting.. not right now."

Liz Claman asked what might spark a cut and Ford replied, "You're not likely to see a cut unless we get a sharp cut in consumer spending plus unemployment claims jumping - then you might have a chance of a cut. But I don't see those things happening - you're looking at them sitting on the rates where they are now."

Carl Tannenbaum said, "I think chances are evenly split between a cut and a hike right now it looks like inflation is coming down - but core inflation is still stubbornly above the Fed's 2% target. The housing correction has not damaged consumers that badly and although retail sales have not bee that good, on-line sales are moving forward pretty well. (We anticipate) a strong job market and strong stock market so we're figuring consumers will be out there. Consequently, we think the market's assumption that the Fed is going to be cutting and cutting soon is erroneous."

Tannenbaum added, "I don't think the Fed is happy with the easing in the bond market if you ask borrowers if liquidity is ample--you'll get a resounding yes. I think you're going to see (The Fed) remind us that the economy is not falling off the cliff and the inflation risk is there."