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Federal Reserve 'dragging its feet' on rate hikes: Expert

  • In the market's mind, the Fed has pushed the balance agenda forward so that it can delay rate increases, Scott Minerd said.
  • The central bank declined to raise rates on Wednesday, but indicated it would begin to unwind its balance sheet relatively soon.
  • However, David Kelly is still betting on a rate hike in December.

The Federal Reserve is "dragging its feet" on interest rate hikes, investing expert Scott Minerd told CNBC on Wednesday.

The central bank unanimously declined to increase rates at the conclusion of its two-day meeting on Wednesday. However, it said it expects to begin winding down its $4.5 trillion balance sheet "relatively soon."

"What they've done, in the market's mind, is they've pushed the balance agenda forward so that they can delay rate increases," Minerd, global chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners, said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen

The Fed began to gradually raise rates in December 2015, with the last hike occurring in June. The current target is between 1 percent and 1.25 percent, after four quarter-point increases.

While it passed on another hike on Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee laid the groundwork in its post-meeting statement to start reducing its balance sheet, with language pointing to a move starting in September.

"The committee expects to begin implementing its balance sheet normalization program relatively soon, provided that the economy evolves broadly as anticipated," the statement said.

David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds, disagrees with the assessment that rate hikes may be delayed. He's still betting on another increase this year.

One reason is the low dollar, he said. The U.S. Dollar index is down 8 percent so far this year.

"I think they will raise rates in December. They just don't want to say that a lower dollar is one of the reasons they feel comfortable doing so because they don't want to encourage foreign exchange volatility," Kelly told "Power Lunch."

— CNBC's Jeff Cox contributed to this report.