The likelihood that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in 2015 is falling as the U.S. economy shows signs of jobs market weakness amid low inflation, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
Members of the central bank’s policy-making board this week have voiced misgivings about hiking rates for the first time since 2006. Fed governors Lael Brainard and Daniel Tarullo said falling unemployment isn’t a great indicator of future inflation and isn’t a sound basis for raising rates, the newspaper reported
Joblessness has fallen
to 5.1 percent since hitting 10 percent in 2009 as the U.S. economy suffered the steepest decline
since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation
has remained stubbornly below an unofficial target of 2 percent for the past three years, indicating lackluster demand.
Traders put a 5 percent probability the Fed will raise rates at its Oct. 27-28 meeting to set monetary policy, and a 30 percent chance for December, according to Fed Funds futures
data on Oct. 15.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said the central bank was looking to raise rates by the end of this year on signs of an improving economy. In September, the Federal Open Market Committee pointed to global economic weakness as a reason to delay a rate hike.
“While an October move is highly unlikely, the Fed could still decide to push rates up this year, particularly if the labor market shows renewed signs of vigor before its Dec. 15-16 policy meeting, or if signs emerge that wages or inflation are moving up from low levels,” according to the WSJ.
On Wednesday, the Fed published its quarterly Beige Book
report that has anecdotal observations about the U.S. economy. Inflation was contained from mid-August to early October as a strong dollar weighed on manufacturing and tourism, the report said.
Six of the 12 Fed districts called the expansion “modest,” while three reported “moderate” growth. Boston and Richmond cited better economic activity, while Kansas City declined. Chicago and Richmond said growth was slower compared with the prior three-month period.
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