A majority of economists expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to hold its benchmark interest rate at current levels following its two-day policy meeting that gets underway today (September 19).
A poll conducted by the Reuters News Agency also found that most economists don’t expect the U.S. central bank to begin lowering interest rates until the second quarter of 2024 at the earliest.
During its last meeting in August, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell emphasized that another interest rate hike in the U.S. might be needed to bring inflation back down to the central bank’s 2% annualized target.
More than 95% of economists polled by Reuters between September 7 and 12 say they expect the Fed to hold its federal funds rate at the current range of 5.25% to 5.50%, a 22-year high.
However, one-fifth (20%) of economists also say that they anticipate at least one more interest rate increase before the end of this year.
About 70% of surveyed economists forecast at least one interest rate cut by the end of June next year.
The latest inflation reading showed that consumers prices in the U.S. rose 3.7% year-over-year in August, up from an annualized increase of 3.2% in July.
However, inflation in the U.S. has come down from a peak of 9.1% seen in June 2022.