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Fed critic Jim Grant goes out on a limb and predicts a rate cut at this week's meeting

Key Points
  • "That's my view. They'll cut preemptively in June. That is to say Wednesday," says the Grant's Interest Rate Observer newsletter editor.
  • The market has been increasingly thinking that a rate cut is coming, but most see one happening next month or later in the year.
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James Grant: The Fed will cut in June

The Federal Reserve will announce a cut in interest rates Wednesday, the founder of the closely followed Grant's Interest Rate Observer newsletter said Monday.

Jim Grant's view, expressed on CNBC, puts him firmly in the minority on Wall Street. Grant has been a longtime critic of the Fed's easy monetary policies since the 2008 financial crisis and what he views as the resulting dislocations in the market due to inflated asset prices.

The market has been increasingly been thinking that a rate cut is coming, but the CME FedWatch tracker points to a less than 20% chance this month, with odds shooting up to over 80% at the July meeting and increasing as the year goes on. The current target range for the fed funds overnight lending rate is 2.25% to 2.5%

"I think they are going to cut in June," said Grant, surprising everyone around the "Squawk Box" table. They then asked Grant if he meant July. But he reiterated, "That's my view. They'll cut preemptively in June. That is to say Wednesday" when central bankers conclude their two-day policymaking meeting.

The Fed increased the cost of borrowing money four times last year, with the last move coming in December as financial markets were melting down.

The so-called Powell Pivot in early 2019 — when Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reassured markets that central bankers would be patient on any more rate increases — stabilized stocks, and gave investors a reason to buy. Even with a severe stumble last month, the was only 2.2% away from its all-time high set May 1.

With signs of a slowing economy and concerns about the U.S.-China trade war, talk in the markets earlier this year about the Fed holding steady for a while has turned to calls for a cut or even multiple cuts in 2019.

A growing number of economists and investors are expecting a rate cut at the July 30-31 meeting. Some don't expect one until September, giving the Fed more data to consider before cutting rates. Then there are a few, such as economists at Goldman Sachs, who expect no cut at all this year.

President Donald Trump has been a staunch critic of the Powell Fed, telling CNBC last week, "They certainly didn't listen to me because they made a big mistake: They raised interest rates far too fast,"

— CNBC's Patti Domm contributed to this report.

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