Inflation Pressures Are Easing but Rate Cut Forecast Remains Uncertain

The New Year is beginning where the old one ended -- with uncertainty about when – or whether – the Federal Reserve will begin cutting interest rates.

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Prospective homebuyers are confronting what the National Association of Realtors (NAR) describes as “the most difficult affordability conditions in nearly 40 years.”

Are we there yet?  Children ask that question endlessly on a long car trip. Federal Reserve officials are asking it about their drive to curb inflation.

Analysts who had generally welcomed the Fed’s decision to leave interest rates unchanged in September are now debating whether policy makers will hit the pause button again when the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Fed’s policy-setting arm, meets October 31-November 1.  Most are predicting that another rate hike is likely, perhaps not at the next meeting, but before the end of the year. 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has  made it abundantly clear that the Fed may – or may not ─ boost interest rates again in September.