Even with turmoil in the banking industry and uncertainty ahead, the Federal Reserve likely will approve a quarter-percentage-point interest rate increase next week, according to market pricing and many Wall Street experts.
Rate expectations have been on a rapidly swinging pendulum over the past two weeks, varying from a half-point hike to holding the line and even at one point some talk that the Fed could cut rates.
However, a consensus has emerged that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and his fellow central bankers will want to signal that while they are attuned to the financial sector upheaval, it’s important to continue the fight to bring down inflation.
That likely will take the form of a 0.25 percentage point, or 25 basis point, increase, accompanied by assurances that there’s no preset path ahead. The outlook could change depending on market behavior in the coming days, but the indication is for the Fed to hike.
“They have to do something, otherwise they lose credibility,” said Doug Roberts, founder and chief investment strategist at Channel Capital Research. “They want to do 25, and the 25 sends a message. But it’s really going to depend on the comments afterwards, what Powell says in public. … I don’t think he’s going to do the 180-degree shift everybody’s talking about.”