Bank of America warns: Fed is not close to start cutting rates

Published 05/20/2024, 10:52 AM
© Reuters.

Bank of America warned investors in a note Monday that the bar for Federal Reserve rate hikes is high, but rate cuts are still far off. 

The investment banksaid in its brief memo that the Fed should take comfort from April price data, but services inflation is still running above target. 

"Also, we reject the 'stagflation' narrative that has resurfaced recently," stated BofA. "The consumer spending outlook is solid. April retail sales came in softer than expected largely due to payback for a spike in non-store sales in March."

The bank notes that core control retail sales have remained at 2.7% annualized over the last three months.

Meanwhile, they believe that markets got excited after the better-than-expected April CPI coupled with weaker-than-expected retail sales. However, with markets now pricing close to 50bp of cuts this year, they "are likely to get disappointed."

"1Q inflation was too high, and a single print should not deliver much comfort, especially if it annualizes to a rate much higher than consistent with the Fed's target," adds BofA. "Furthermore, the economy is still solid, including services spending, the labor market remains tight, supply tailwinds could fade, and elections are approaching."

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