BlackRock global fixed income CIO Rick Rieder told CNBC on Wednesday that an argument can be made that Federal Reserve-controlled interest rates are already pretty much at so-called neutral, a level neither accommodative nor restrictive to the U.S. economy.
Rieder, who oversees $1.88 trillion in bond assets for the world's largest money manager, believes the Fed at its December meeting will increase rates for the fourth time this year.
"Then I think they're going to be very data-centric," he said in a "Squawk Box" interview, adding the Fed could halt rate hikes altogether in 2019. "Most of the rate adjustment that's priced into the market today has happened."
As a base case, he sees one or two more hikes next year instead of the central bank-projected three moves.
Wall Street will be looking for more clues on the future of rates when Fed Chairman Jerome Powell delivers the most important address in his short tenure at the helm. He speaks around noon ET on Wednesday at The Economic Club of New York.
President Donald Trump, who's repeatedly blasted Powell for what he called unnecessarily tightening and risking economic growth, condemned the Fed chief in a Washington Post interview Tuesday saying, "I'm not even a little bit happy with my selection" of Powell.
Powell's remarks in early October about rates being a long way from neutral touched off a market rout on concerns that central bankers would increase rates aggressively next year.
In recent weeks, Fed officials have taken care to soften that outlook as certain pockets of the U.S. economy signaled weakness. Powell himself two weeks ago in Dallas acknowledged the pace of global economic growth was slowing.