By Kristin Hovencamp, CPWA®
It is easy to get fearful and lost in the negativity that plagues our 24/7 news cycles. Headlines scream skyrocketing inflation, recession, banks in peril of failing, endless interest rate increases, and so on. Let’s attack each of these issues separately.
Inflation. Inflation is still too high, at 4.2%. The Federal Reserve’s target inflation rate is 2%. During the May 3rd Federal Open Market Committee meeting, the Fed announced it was raising interest rates by 0.25 percentage points to 5.25% in further efforts to combat inflation. On a positive note, inflation numbers are declining, as has been the trend for the last nine months.
Interest Rates. The central bank began tightening credit in March of 2022 and has since raised interest rates 10 times, totaling 500 basis points. Data suggests that the Fed’s efforts to slow the economy, labor force, and inflation are taking effect. The belief that the Fed is near the end of its tightening cycle is reflected in the fact that we have only seen three .25 percentage rate increases in 2023.
Bank stresses. Fed officials have stated that they believe the worst bank stresses are behind us and will continue to monitor financial conditions tightly. Though the banking sector has stabilized, it is unsurprising that depositors may continue to pull their money from regional banks and seek safety in investments like government-backed Treasuries.
Recession. The Fed expects to see a mild recession during the third quarter of 2023 and maintains this could be just what is needed to ease inflation. Various sectors of the stock market are already in recessionary territory. There are also signs of slowing consumer consumption and easing pricing pressures.
To underscore the importance of relying on data and not headlines, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams recently reiterated, “I am confident we are on the right path, and I will be particularly focused on assessing the evolution of credit conditions and their effects on the outlook for growth, employment, and inflation. “
Kristin Hovencamp, CPWA® is an Investment Executive and Director of Business Development with HAZLETT WEALTH MANAGEMENT, LLC, which is independent of Raymond James and is not a registered broker/dealer. Investment advisory services are offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. 675 Sun Valley Road, Suite J1 + J2 Ketchum, Idaho 83340 208.726.0605.