Audrey Deschenes
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Traders now see Fed first hiking rates in 2016

January, not December, is new favorite for Federal Reserve interest-rate move


Federal Chairwoman Janet Yellen at her press conference Thursday.

The betting now is that the Federal Reserve won’t raise interest rates until 2016.

After reviewing all the information released by Fed policy makers on Thursday, traders who bet on the future path of the U.S. central bank’s key policy rate pushed back expectations of the first rate hike by one more meeting.

Traders put a 52% chance of a rate hike in January, one meeting later than was expected prior to the Fed’s decision to leave rates unchanged, according to CME FedWatch. The Fed is scheduled to meet Jan. 26-27.

Before Thursday’s meeting, the odds had favored a December rate hike.

Analysts said there was doubt that the Fed would act in October because no news conference is planned, although the central bank could always call a news conference on short notice.

Investors don’t believe the Fed will hike in December because it is so close to Christmas and markets are less liquid, said Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at BTIG.

However, Kim Chase, senior economist for BBVA Compass in Houston, predicted that the market would likely refocus on the possibility of a move at the Dec. 15-16 meeting.

A news conference is already scheduled following that meeting. As with Thursday’s meeting, policy makers are to issue a summary of economic projections.

“We do expect that [Fed] communication in the next few months will shift attention back towards the end-of-year goal for the first rate hike, as long as economic data evolve in line with the Fed’s expectations,” Chase said.

On Thursday, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen voiced concern about emerging markets and the impact developments abroad could have on the U.S.