The Federal Reserve will have a harder time making the case for a September rate hike if commodity prices continue to slip, JPMorgan Asset Management's David Lebovitz said Tuesday.
"As commodity prices continue to fall, it's going to make it more and more difficult for the Fed to reach that 2 percent inflation target and have a reason for hiking rates," Lebovitz said in an interview with CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."
Still, Lebovitz said he expects the Fed will likely raise at least once this year.
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Ward McCarthy, Jefferies' chief financial economist, agreed. "If commodity prices are falling, import prices are falling, and it makes it even harder for the Fed to attain its inflation target. Right now there is no hope that they are going to do it any time soon," he told "Squawk on the Street."
McCarthy expects that commodity prices will rise, but there is no indication of that happening soon.
Lebovitz said he is encouraging investors to maintain their preference for risk. He said that modest earnings growth will likely return in the third quarter, when U.S. companies will have had time to adjust to lower oil prices and the stronger dollar.