June 2018 Client Letter
In my January letter, I commented on how it would not be a surprise to see the Federal Reserve raise the Federal Funds rate four times in 2018. When the year started, the Fed indicated it would look to target a total of three hikes this year. In mid-June, as expected, the Fed raised rates for a second time in 2018, bringing the Fed Funds target rate up to 2%. The two additional rate hikes should come in September and December.
How many more times will the Fed raise interest rates before stopping? Many variables go into the Fed’s interest rate decisions; but, historically, short-term interest rates have been as much as 1.5 percentage points higher than the rate of inflation. With today’s Fed Funds rate at 2% and consumer prices rising annually at about 2.2% (as measured by core CPI), the Fed still has significant room to raise rates without overdoing it, even assuming moderate economic growth.