In September only a third of CFOs thought the Central Bank would raise rates for a fourth time in 2018. That number has risen to 59.5 percent for the Fed meeting on Dec. 18 and 19. Just under 25 percent think the Fed will hold off.
Most CFOs expect the Fed’s tighter policy to continue into 2019 — 45.9 percent expect two more rate hikes next year, while 40.5 percent expect three.
Increased expectations for more rate hikes come despite recent stock market volatility and a weakened stock outlook from the CFOs on the council, where a majority now expect the Dow Jones Industrial Average to fall below 23,000 — roughly another 2,000 points — before ever being able to reach another record above 27,000.
Worries from some market watchers, and Trump, have increased about the Fed harming the market and the economy if it continues to tighten. In October, Trump called the Fed the “biggest risk” to the U.S. economy. In a series of comments, he also referred to the Central Bank as “loco” and “too aggressive” and hinted that he may be regretting having nominated Powell to the Fed chairmanship.
But CFOs remain on the chairman’s side of this issue, as seen in their approval of Powell’s handling of the economy and their disapproval of Trump’s. While Trump may see the Fed as the biggest risk to the economy, just 13.5 percent of global CFOs say central banks are the biggest risk. Thirty-five percent say U.S. trade policy is a bigger cause for concern, while 24.3 percent say consumer demand is the biggest external risk to their company.
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