Will the US Federal Reserve raise rates in Dec?

DollarsAll eyes are fixed on whether the US Federal Reserve will follow through on its hints and begin to tighten monetary policy in December.

The US economy, as shown in Table 1, has been growing comfortably around and over two per cent year-on-year for several quarters.

Even more to the point, unemployment is down to 5 per cent and the job openings rate has been steadily climbing, as Table 2 makes clear.

Extraordinarily low interest rates have lasted very long indeed by historical standards — as Table 3 demonstrates — and the pressure to tighten is considerable.

However, yields on 10-year US Treasury Bills — shown in Table 4 — have not moved notably in anticipation, suggesting the market does not believe that the Fed will be capable of following up a December hike with sustained tightening.

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ChartSimilar mechanisms, a pricing in of a December hike, seem to be visible in US equities, as shown in Table 5, which have recovered from their brief stutter following events in the China markets.

The dollar, too, may have priced in a December hike, as Table 6 suggests — gold prices, which move inversely with the dollar index, have fallen.

Finally, Table 7 shows that other developed-world central banks have kept the money taps flowing — while several closely watched rates in the emerging-market world have also declined of late.

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