How Many Rate Hikes Can The U.S. Handle?

Lior Alkalay - Contributor - Forex

The FOMC meeting ended yesterday as many had expected. Besides some marginal tweaks in the language, the message remained the same; data will determine our rate policy. Now, hours after the latest US GDP figures hit the newswires, it seems that Dollar Bulls are gearing up towards a September rate hike. Part of their rationale is because the data is good enough to sustain a rate hike. And that’s essentially true. With wages growing annually at 2%, Core Inflation at 1.7%, unemployment at 1.8% and now GDP bouncing back, indeed, a rate hike is warranted. At the same time, there are essentially no signs that the US economy is overheating. Rather, we’re seeing notable signs of stabilization. This, then, begs the question: How many rate hikes can the US handle in the upcoming year?

No Escape Velocity in GDP

When we examine the dynamics of GDP growth, it’s evident that the US GDP growth rate is not breaking the range. Instead, it has the same cycles that tend to end around the 3% growth rate. After that, the US economy tends to decelerate, only to regain momentum later. But this range of growth has not been broken. This means that there’s no evidence that US GDP is at escape velocity, a pace which would require several rate hikes a year.

United States GDP Annual Growth Rate
Chart courtesy of

No Escape Velocity in Inflation

When we examine US Core Inflation, a similar picture emerges. US inflation is within the Fed’s 2% range and is showing no signs of overheating, i.e. escaping the Fed’s target. Rather, every time it reaches the 2% range, it tends to cool and then slide slightly lower. Continue reading "How Many Rate Hikes Can The U.S. Handle?"

Hedge Your Dollars With Pounds?

Lior Alkalay - Contributor - Forex

Which currency is set to outperform? Is it the US Dollar or the Pound Sterling? Consider if you will that, despite some notable headwinds, the Fed is moving closer to a rate hike. For many, that suggests the Dollar as the best bet for the next 12 months. Especially with unemployment at 5.3% and core CPI now rebounding to 1.8% Year on Year. Yet some US data releases are still only "mildly" positive; for example gains in wages, slowed from 2.3% to just 2%.

On the other side of the Atlantic the Bank of England has signaled that it's warming up towards a rate hike, too. Yet, unlike in the US, gains in wages have been rising by 3.2% Year on Year. Moreover, GDP has been growing at a pace of 0.4% (QoQ) in Q1, far better than the negative figure posted by the US. So is the Sterling looking better than the Dollar? Not exactly. Then is the Dollar looking better than Sterling? The answer is, once again, not exactly. But here's the thing. Continue reading "Hedge Your Dollars With Pounds?"