Federal Reserve's 2024 Interest Rate Outlook: A Measured Descent Expected

FXOpen

In the ever-watchful eyes of the financial world, the Federal Reserve's stance on interest rates in 2024 takes centre stage. While market expectations align with a gradual decrease in rates, the nuances in projections and potential economic scenarios add layers of complexity to the narrative.

As of now, the Fed Funds target rate stands at 5.25% to 5.5%. According to the CME FedWatch Tool, a reliable measure of debt market expectations, there is an anticipation of approximately a 1% reduction in this rate by the close of 2024. This implies a plausible range for short-term rates between 4% and 5% in December 2024.

Interestingly, the Federal Reserve's own projections, disclosed on September 20, paint a slightly more hawkish picture compared to the market consensus. These projections hint at rates potentially residing in the 4.5% to 5.5% range by December 2024. The upcoming interest rate decision on December 1 will provide an opportune moment for Fed policymakers to revisit and update these projections.

Throughout 2024, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to conduct eight meetings to deliberate on interest rates, with the flexibility to adjust monetary policy based on economic developments. While the Fed has emphasised the possibility of rates moving upward, this is now framed as a contingent scenario dependent on specific economic conditions rather than the primary trajectory.

The key dates for interest rate decisions and policy announcements in 2024 include March, June, September, and December. The Federal Reserve will unveil its decisions through written statements at 2 pm E.T., accompanied by a subsequent press conference. Detailed minutes of each meeting will be released three weeks later.

Every other meeting will incorporate a Summary of Economic Projections, providing insights into policymakers' expectations regarding interest rates, economic growth, unemployment, and inflation for both the near and long term.

The prevailing narrative revolves around the belief that inflation is on a cooling trajectory, poised to return to the Fed's 2% annual target over the medium term. The Fed, cautious in its optimism, emphasises the need for more data to confirm this perspective. If inflation does not follow the expected downward trajectory, the Fed has stated that rate increases may be on the horizon.

In recent weeks, market sentiment has shifted towards the conviction that inflation is under control, signalling an end to interest rate hikes. While this aligns with the Fed's viewpoint to some extent, officials express lingering concerns about the trajectory of inflation, underscoring the delicacy of the current economic climate.

A pivotal factor in the interest rate equation is economic growth. Despite the resilience of the job market in 2023, there are signs of slowing job gains, raising the spectre of further weakening in 2024. With the yield curve hinting at a potential recession and unemployment showing a marginal uptick, the prospect of a recession in 2024 looms.

While a recession might aid in tempering inflation, it presents challenges to the Fed's goal of maintaining full employment. A more severe economic downturn could prompt the Fed to expedite rate cuts to stimulate the economy.

This article represents the opinion of the Companies operating under the FXOpen brand only. It is not to be construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation with respect to products and services provided by the Companies operating under the FXOpen brand, nor is it to be considered financial advice.

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