Federal Reserve

The Fed will cut rates by a quarter point this month, not a half point, WSJ says

Key Points
  • The Fed is getting ready to cut rates by a quarter point, not half point, the WSJ reports.
  • The Federal Reserve will begin its two day meeting on September 17.
  • The Wall Street Journal cited interviews with officials and public speeches.
US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a press conference after a Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington, DC on July 31, 2019.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Amid a deepening global economic outlook, the Federal Reserve is expected to cut interest rates by another quarter point when it holds its next meeting in two weeks, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing interviews with officials and public speeches.

The Federal Open Market Committee cut rates by a quarter point for the first time in more than a decade at its last meeting, but some traders and investors have signaled they would like a deeper reduction and more aggressive rate-cutting cycle. President Donald Trump also continues to pressure the Fed for more rate cuts, and said in August that the Fed should cut rates by at least 1%.

But the WSJ says a half point cut is not getting support within the Fed.

On Wednesday, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said the Fed should cut rates by half a percentage point at its next meeting to get ahead of both financial market expectations and a global trade war.

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Traders are putting the odds of a quarter-point cut at 95% at the September meeting and just a 5% chance of a 50-basis-point cut, according to the CME Fedwatch tool, which uses futures prices. A month ago amid August market turmoil, traders put the odds of a half-point cut at 29%.

Markets are implying a 1.81% funds rate following the September meeting, which would be about 30 basis points below where the benchmark is trading now.

One element that could be key to the Fed's thinking is the yield curve, or the gap between maturities of government bonds. The curve has inverted, meaning short-term yields are higher than their longer-duration counterparts. In particular, the benchmark 10-year Treasuy yield is trading about 63 basis points below the funds rate.

Read the full Wall Street Journal story here.

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