Monday Morning Scoop - Fed Chair Jerome Powell Hints More Interest Rate Hikes May Be On The Way

Fed Chair Jerome Powell Hints More Interest Rate Hikes May Be On The Way

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell suggested Friday that additional interest rate bumps are on the table in the Fed’s ongoing quest to curb inflation. 

Inflation still isn’t at the level the Fed wants it to be, Powell said during the Fed’s annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Fed chief’s annual presentation at the event typically offers up a good idea of what to expect in monetary policy over the coming months, CNN Business reports. 

“It is the Fed’s job to bring inflation down to our 2% goal, and we will do so,” Powell said in his prepared remarks. “Although inflation has moved down from its peak — a welcome development — it remains too high. We are prepared to raise rates further if appropriate.”

The Fed increased its lending rate by a quarter-point in July to a range of 5.25% to 5.5%, the highest level since 2001. Additional rate increases would likely further stress a strained economic situation in the commercial real estate market.   

The decades-high federal funds rate has already increased the cost of borrowing. If traditional commercial loans are more expensive, it may impact the affordability of new investments, per Terrydale Capital. 

Additionally, commercial real estate values are tightly linked to cap rates, which are inversely tied to interest rates, according to Terrydale Capital. As interest rates rise, property owners may see a decrease in the value of their assets, reduced leasing demand and a decreased ability to raise rents as tenants become more price-sensitive.

While Powell said he stands ready to further raise rates, The New York Times reported, he was less clear on whether a hike might occur at the Fed’s next meeting in September or later in the year.

“At upcoming meetings we are in a position to proceed carefully as we assess the incoming data and the evolving outlook and risks,” he said, per the NYT.

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester is one of the Fed officials who is taking a more assertive stance on combating inflation, according to CNN Business. 

“We’ve come a long way, but we don’t want to be satisfied, because inflation remains too high — and we need to see more evidence to be assured that it’s coming down in a sustainable way and in a timely way,” Mester said in an interview with CNBC following Powell’s speech.

By: Ryan Wangman
Source: BisNow