Don’t count on a Powell Pause.
That’s the message seasoned watchers of the Federal Reserve have for any investors hoping that turmoil in Turkey and the wider emerging-market selloff would stay the hand of Chairman Jerome Powell from raising interest rates.
While international developments did cause the U.S. central bank to hold back in 2015 and 2016, there are big differences between now and then. U.S. unemployment was higher and underlying inflation was lower. But perhaps more importantly, the nexus of the turbulence was China, whose economy is the world’s second largest and more than 10 times the size of Turkey’s.
“The broad conclusion from history is that the U.S. can generally ignore what happens in emerging markets, unless it involves China,” said Michael Gapen, chief U.S. economist at Barclays and a former section head at the Fed Board in Washington.
Investors agree with that assessment. Despite fears of Turkish contagion, odds of a Fed hike in September were unchanged from a week ago at 90%, according to pricing in federal funds futures, with the probability of another move in December seen at roughly 55%.
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