Tags: LaVorgna | Fed | rates | jobless

Deutsche Bank's LaVorgna: Fed May Hike Rates Sooner Than You Expect

Friday, 28 Jun 2013 07:59 AM

By Michael Kling

The Federal Reserve may hike rates sooner than you think.

In fact, Joe LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank, predicts the central bank will start increasing rates as soon as next summer.

Most people focus on the unemployment rate when trying to forecast the Fed's actions. However, the weekly jobless claims report, although it does have shortcomings, may be a more accurate economic indicator and a better guide to the Fed's decisions, according to CNBC.

Editor's Note:
Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

Because the unemployment rate counts only those out of work or actively looking for a job, it has been falling partly because the workforce participation rate is at a 35-year low.

History indicates that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will probably increase rates within a year after weekly jobless claims are averaging below 350,000, LaVorgna's research shows, according to CNBC.

And that's been happening, with claims averaging 346,000 in the second quarter.

"While a higher fed funds rate is still a long way off based on the FOMC's latest forecasts, the recent claims readings, if sustained, strongly suggest the Fed's first hike in interest rates could come as early as next summer. We are forecasting early 2015," LaVorgna said.

In the past, the Fed raised rates when claims averaged 350,000 in 1958, 331,000 in 1961, 345,000 in 1984 and 344,000 in 1987.

The Fed has said it won't consider increasing rates until the unemployment rate reaches 6.5 percent, which it expects in 2015, provided inflation remains low.

"If past is prologue, whereby low and declining claims accurately foreshadow a noticeable pickup in hiring — and hence a sharp decline in the unemployment rate — then monetary policymakers will not be waiting until 2015 before raising the fed funds rate," LaVorgna explained.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank would consider reducing its monthly bond purchases late this year and end them in mid-2014 if the recovery continues as it predicts.

But investors fear that the Fed will raise rates sooner than mid-2015, as previously thought.

Falling prices in Eurodollar and fed funds futures markets suggest that investors expect higher rates by late 2014, according to The Wall Street Journal. Investors might be starting to doubt the Fed's commitment to low rates.

"The market is saying, 'The fundamental economic outlook really hasn’t changed much, but we are getting more worried about Fed policy,'" said Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, according to The Journal.

Editor's Note: Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

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