Earlier I posted some questions on my blog for next year: Ten Economic Questions for 2023. Some of these questions concern real estate (inventory, house prices, housing starts, new home sales), and I’ll post thoughts on those in the newsletter (others like GDP and employment will be on this blog).
I’m adding some thoughts, and maybe some predictions for each question.
6) Monetary Policy: In response to the increase in inflation, the FOMC raised the federal funds rate from “0 to 1/4 percent” in January 2022, to “4-1/4 to 4-1/2 percent” in December. A majority of FOMC participants expect three or even four 25 bp rate hikes in 2023. What will the Fed Funds rate be in December 2023?
Once we reach that point, then the second step of our inflation fighting process, as I see it, will be pausing to let the tightening we have already done work its way through the economy. I have us pausing at 5.4 percent …”And Wall Street economists are expecting three or more rate hikes this year. From Goldman Sachs on January 6, 2023: “We continue to expect 25bp fed funds rate hikes each in February, March, and May. We continue to expect no rate cuts in 2023.”From BofA on Jan 6, 2023: “We continue to expect the Fed to lift the target range to 5.0-5.25% early this year, a view that the Fed appeared to tentatively endorse. We expect a 50bp rate hike in February and 25bp increase in March.”
2023No Change0One Rate Hike0Two Rate Hikes2Three Rate Hikes10 Four Rate Hikes5 Five Rate Hikes2
Clearly the main view of the FOMC is three or even four rate hikes in 2023.
And from Goldman Sachs: There are two reasons why we believe the lags from monetary policy to growth are short while many others believe they are long. First, in our framework a tightening in financial conditions starts to affect the economy when financial markets react to expected policy changes instead of when rate hikes are delivered. Second, many commentators confuse lags from monetary policy to GDP growth with lags to GDP levels.However, employment changes still lag policy. How many construction jobs have been lost so far? None. In fact, construction employment is at an all-time high since there are a record number of housing units under construction! These job losses are already in train with a longer than normal lag due to supply chain issues, and this will increase unemployment and slow wage growth.
The next FOMC meeting ends on February 1st, and it appears the Fed is poised to raise rates 25 bp at this meeting (maybe even 50 bp). However, based on slowing wage growth, core inflation ex-shelter already being negative for two consecutive months, and overall inflation slowing quickly, I think there will be fewer increases this year than most analysts currently expect. My guess is there will be around 2 rate hikes in 2023, and if there are more, the FOMC will be under pressure later in 2023 to cut rates putting the Fed Funds rate under 5% at the end of 2023.
Here are the Ten Economic Questions for 2023 and a few predictions:
• Question #7 for 2023: How much will wages increase in 2023?
• Question #8 for 2023: How much will Residential investment change in 2023? How about housing starts and new home sales in 2023?
• Question #9 for 2023: What will happen with house prices in 2023?
• Question #10 for 2023: Will inventory increase further in 2023?