The Fed Will Still Raise Rates in March, And Thatâs Why Rates May Keep Falling
Thereâs certainly a chicken/egg problem when it comes to interest rate news. Is it the Fedâs decisions that move rates? Or do market forces move rates, thus forcing the Fed to react? The answer is somewhere in between. If inflation and economic growth were always positive, low, and stable, the Fed would never lift a finger, but they are compelled to act when stability is threatened. Since March 2020, the Fed has acted quite a bit. They maintained rate-friendly policies for almost 2 years and then got precipitously unfriendly early in 2022. âUnfriendly,â in this case, refers to hiking the Fed Funds Rate and buying fewer bonds on the open market. The combined effect was one of the sharpest rate spikes in history. Now after more than a year of unfriendliness, the Fed is finally thinking about leveling off and seeing how things play out without too many more rate hikes. Theyâve already decreased the pace from 0.75% per meeting to 0.25%. This isnât a random decision on the part of the Fed. It comes in response to shifts in inflation data as well as other signs that their unfriendly policies are having an effect on the economy. The latest sign is the banking drama that has been in the news this week. It began with Silicon Valley Bank last week but spiraled into a bigger problem with the closure of Signature bank over the weekend. Many people have never heard of these institutions, but they now represent the 2nd and 3rd largest bank failure in US history.