A Surprise Fed Interest-Rate Hike Can’t Be Ruled Out

Majority of economists see data keeping central bank sidelined

by Greg Robb
Market Watch

The Federal Reserve is likely to hold interest rates steady this week in the face of disappointing economic data over the past month, economists said, although some think it is a closer call than the market expects. Talk of an interest-rate hike persists.

The central bank will release a statement and new economic forecasts at 2 p.m. Wednesday followed soon after by a press conference from Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen.

Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC Capital Markets, said he does not think the Fed would hike interest rates or even make any explicit warning of a rate hike given “the recent string of soft data.”

“We had a weak first half, then a month or two of better data and now a month of softer data. Have we put the soft data from the start of the year clearly behind us? I would have to say no,” Shenfeld concluded.

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