Is A September Rate Hike Back On The Table?

Grexit risk has been shelved, the West has reached a nuclear deal with Iran, China’s stock market has bounced back, and US economic growth in Q2 is on track to post a decent if unspectacular growth rate of 2%-plus. Put it all together and the case is looking stronger for a September rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

The Treasury market seems to be considering that scenario. After the recent pause amid worries over various global risks, US yields have rebounded. The benchmark 10-year yield rose to 2.44% yesterday (July 13), the highest since June 26, according to data. The 2-year yield, seen as the most sensitive part of the yield curve for rate expectations, has made a similar U-turn this week, rising to 0.69% in yesterday’s session.


Despite all the back and forth lately in the daily data, upward momentum for yields has remained relatively strong when measured by the trend. Notably, the 10-year yield’s 50-day exponential moving average (EMA) remains firmly above its 100-day and 200-day counterparts.


Last week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that “I expect that it will be appropriate at some point later this year to take the first step to raise the federal-funds rate and thus begin normalizing monetary policy.” Using the 10-year’s EMAs as a guide, it would appear that the market’s been assuming as much in recent weeks, even during the latest phase of turbulence that spawned a period of risk-off trading.

Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise to learn that the implied probability of a ¼-point Fed funds rate slightly exceeds 50% for the July and September FOMC meetings, according to data from the CME Group.

Nonetheless, the economic releases over the next several weeks will be critical. For the moment, however, the odds look favorable for anticipating modest growth.

“Despite international headwinds, economic growth in the US is humming along,” Wells Fargo’s macro team noted last week. “Service sector activity continues to drive economic activity, while manufacturing is gradually recovering from the West Coast port disruptions and the stronger dollar.”

BMO economist Sal Guatieri made a similar point on Friday, reasoning that “after a rocky start to the year, the US economy is staging a comeback, led by a fitter consumer and a housing market punching above its weight.”

It’s still a precarious recovery, but short of a run of sharply disappointing economic news, the odds for a near-term rate hike will inch higher in the summer’s remaining weeks.