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Traders Pare Fed-Easing Bets as Powell Nixes Long Cutting Cycle

Traders Pare Fed-Easing Bets as Powell Nixes Long Cutting Cycle
(Dollar Photo Club)

Wednesday, 31 July 2019 03:42 PM

Traders dialed back the amount of U.S. central-bank easing they anticipate and the Treasuries yield curve flattened as Chairman Jerome Powell dented expectations for further cuts even as he lowered the Federal Reserve’s benchmark.

Short-end yields rose immediately after the Fed’s decision to cut rates by a quarter point, amid disappointment from some that the easing wasn’t larger. They reached their peak of the day as Powell at his news conference called the the easing a mid-cycle adjustment to policy and that Wednesday’s move isn’t the start of a long series of cuts.

The comments “disappointed market expectations that this is the start of a Fed easing cycle,” said Eimear Daly, a currency strategist at Macquarie Bank. “Powell’s rose-tinted view of a resilient U.S. economy is also leaving the market doubtful that this is the start of the big Fed ease.”

The implied rate on January fed funds futures, an indication of where the market sees the central bank’s key rate at the end of this year, was last at 1.795%, compared with 1.72% just before the Wednesday announcement. That suggests the market is pricing in around 35 basis points of easing in addition to the reduction announced at this meeting, which made the current target range for the fed funds rate 2% to 2.25%.

Heading into the decision, traders had priced in a quarter-point move as a certainty and some potential for an even larger reduction. Investors have also been looking for deeper cuts later in the year.

The Treasury curve flattened as short-end yields rose, driving the gap between 2- and 10-year yields to its lowest levels since March. The dollar gained, pushing the ICE dollar index to its highest level since 2017.

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Traders dialed back the amount of U.S. central-bank easing they anticipate and the Treasuries yield curve flattened as Chairman Jerome Powell dented expectations for further cuts even as he lowered the Federal Reserve's benchmark.
fed, easing, bets, traders, powell
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2019-42-31
Wednesday, 31 July 2019 03:42 PM
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