Prime Rate

also known as the Fed, National or United States Prime Rate,
from the interest-rate specialists at www.FedPrimeRate.comSM

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

U.S. Prime Rate Is Now 6.00%

U.S. Prime Rate is cut to 6.00%
Prime Rate is now 6%
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve has just adjourned its first, regularly scheduled monetary policy meeting of 2008, and, in accordance with the latest forecast, the FOMC has just lowered its target for the Federal Funds Rate by 50 basis points (0.50 percentage point) to 3.00%. Therefore, as of today, the U.S. Prime Rate is now 6.00%. Many American banks have already issued a press release announcing that their prime lending rate has been lowered from 6.50% to 6.00%.

Here's a clip from a press release issued by the FOMC earlier today:

"The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower its target for the federal funds rate 50 basis points to 3 percent.

Financial markets remain under considerable stress, and credit has tightened further for some businesses and households. Moreover, recent information indicates a deepening of the housing contraction as well as some softening in labor markets.

The Committee expects inflation to moderate in coming quarters, but it will be necessary to continue to monitor inflation developments carefully.

Today’s policy action, combined with those taken earlier, should help to promote moderate growth over time and to mitigate the risks to economic activity. However, downside risks to growth remain. The Committee will continue to assess the effects of financial and other developments on economic prospects and will act in a timely manner as needed to address those risks.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; Timothy F. Geithner, Vice Chairman; Donald L. Kohn; Randall S. Kroszner; Frederic S. Mishkin; Sandra Pianalto; Charles I. Plosser; Gary H. Stern; and Kevin M. Warsh. Voting against was Richard W. Fisher, who preferred no change in the target for the federal funds rate at this meeting.

In a related action, the Board of Governors unanimously approved a 50-basis-point decrease in the discount rate to 3-1/2 percent. In taking this action, the Board approved the requests submitted by the Boards of Directors of the Federal Reserve Banks of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, and San Francisco."

Summary of The Latest Odds

As of right now, the investors who trade in fed funds futures at the Chicago Board of Trade have odds at 67% (as implied by current pricing on contracts) that the FOMC will vote to lower the benchmark Federal Funds Target Rate by 25 basis points (0.25 percentage point) at the March 18TH, 2008 monetary policy meeting.


Summary of the Latest Prime Rate Forecast:
  • Current odds that the Prime Rate will be cut by 25 basis points at the March 18TH FOMC monetary policy meeting: 67% (more likely than unlikely)
  • NB: U.S. Prime Rate = (The Federal Funds Target Rate + 3)

The odds related to federal-funds futures contracts -- widely accepted as the best predictor of where the FOMC will take the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate -- are constantly changing, so stay tuned for the latest odds.

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Fed Decision Imminent: Odds On A 50 Basis Point Cut at 74%

Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions - www.FedPrimeRate.com
Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions
The economy grew by 0.6% during the fourth quarter of 2007, according to the "advance" estimate released by the Commerce Department this morning. Wall Street economists were expecting around 1.2%. 0.6% growth is certainly slow enough for the Fed to cut aggressively, as expected. The odds that the Fed will cut short-term rates by 50 basis points (0.50 percentage point) are currently at 74%, while odds on a 25 basis point cut are at 26%.

The decision on interest rates will be released in less than one hour. Stay tuned.


Summary of The Latest Odds

As of right now, the investors who trade in fed funds futures at the Chicago Board of Trade have odds at 100% (as implied by current pricing on contracts) that the FOMC will vote to lower the benchmark Federal Funds Target Rate by at least 25 basis points (0.25 percentage point) today.


Summary of the Latest Prime Rate Forecast:
  • Current odds that the Prime Rate will be cut by at least 25 basis points today: 100% (certain)
  • Current odds that the Prime Rate will be cut by 50 basis points today: 74% (more likely than unlikely)
  • NB: U.S. Prime Rate = (The Federal Funds Target Rate + 3)

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Odds on The Fed Cutting by 50 Basis Points Tomorrow at 76% Despite Encouraging Report on Orders for Durable Goods

Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions - www.FedPrimeRate.com
Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions
Some positive news from the economic front today: the Commerce Department reported that new orders for durable, manufactured goods -- products built to last 3 years or more, like DVD players, war planes and cooking ranges -- rose by $11.2 billion (5.2%) during December 2007. Wall Street economists were expecting an increase of about 1.6%. Despite this positive economic news, the fed funds futures market is still 76% certain that the Fed will opt for a 50 basis point (0.50 percentage point) cut for short-term rates tomorrow. The odds on a 25 basis point cut are currently at 24%.

On the negative side, earlier today the Conference Board reported that the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) fell from last month's 90.6 to 87.9 for this month; discouraging news from a consumer spending perspective. Here are the CCI figures since the summer of last year:

  • July 2007: 111.9
  • August 2007: 105.6
  • September 2007: 99.5
  • October 2007: 95.2
  • November 2007: 87.8
  • December 2007: 90.6
  • January 2008: 87.9 (preliminary)

For the CCI, the baseline score of 100 is pegged to 1985 survey results.

Summary of The Latest Odds

As of right now, the investors who trade in fed funds futures at the Chicago Board of Trade have odds at 100% (as implied by current pricing on contracts) that the FOMC will vote to lower the benchmark Federal Funds Target Rate by at least 25 basis points (0.25 percentage point) at tomorrow's monetary policy meeting.


Summary of the Latest Prime Rate Forecast:
  • Current odds that the Prime Rate will be cut by at least 25 basis points at tomorrow's FOMC monetary policy meeting: 100% (certain)
  • Current odds that the Prime Rate will be cut by 50 basis points at tomorrow's FOMC monetary policy meeting: 76% (more likely than unlikely)
  • NB: U.S. Prime Rate = (The Federal Funds Target Rate + 3)

The odds related to federal-funds futures contracts -- widely accepted as the best predictor of where the FOMC will take the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate -- are constantly changing, so stay tuned for the latest odds.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Odds On A 50 Basis Point Cut for January 30 Now at 78%

Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions - www.FedPrimeRate.com
Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions
The Fed will make its next decision on short-term interest rates on January 30, and as we approach that date, the odds from the fed funds futures market have, with increasing confidence, been predicting that the Fed will opt for a 50 basis point (0.50 percentage point) cut. The odds on a 50 basis point cut for the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate now stand at 78%, and the remaining odds -- 22% -- are for a 25 basis point cut.

Let's have a quick look at what might have influenced the futures market recently.

Though both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the S+P 500 Index advanced on the week, both indexes are still down significantly since each peaked last fall. Since closing with all-time highs on October 9, 2007, the DJIA is now down 1,957.36 points (13.819%), while the S+P 500 is down 234.54 points (14.985%).

The yield on the benchmark 10-Year Treasury Note fell to 3.584%. For some perspective, the yield was 4.65% on October 9, 2007.

Also notable: New York Spot Gold closed at $910.50 per ounce on Friday.


Summary of The Latest Odds

As of right now, the investors who trade in fed funds futures at the Chicago Board of Trade have odds at 100% (as implied by current pricing on contracts) that the FOMC will vote to lower the benchmark Federal Funds Target Rate by at least 25 basis points (0.25 percentage point) at the January 30TH, 2008 monetary policy meeting.


Summary of the Latest Prime Rate Forecast:
  • Current odds that the Prime Rate will be cut by at least 25 basis points at the January 30TH FOMC monetary policy meeting: 100% (certain)
  • Current odds that the Prime Rate will be cut by 50 basis points at the January 30TH FOMC monetary policy meeting: 78% (more likely than unlikely)
  • NB: U.S. Prime Rate = (The Federal Funds Target Rate + 3)

The odds related to federal-funds futures contracts -- widely accepted as the best predictor of where the FOMC will take the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate -- are constantly changing, so stay tuned for the latest odds.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Futures Market Still Certain Of Rate Cut for January 30; Odds On A 50 Basis Point Cut Now at 68%

Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions - www.FedPrimeRate.com
Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions
Last Saturday, while most Wall Street economists were predicting that the Fed would cut rates by 50 basis points by January 30, the fed funds futures market was 72% certain that the Fed would cut by 75 basis points at or before the January 30 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. On Tuesday, we learned that the futures market had indeed nailed it, as usual. The Fed executed an intermeeting rate cut of 75 basis points, prompted by significant market losses in Asia and Europe on the Martin Luther King holiday.

The stock market has been looking healthier since Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gained 108.44 points today, while the S&P 500 advanced by 13.47. Another positive piece of news: crude oil for future delivery is currently trading at $89.61 per barrel (crude closed at $97.91 on January 4, 2008.)

On the negative side, New York Spot Gold closed at $912.30 per ounce today, and the yield on the 10-Year Treasury Note closed at 3.64%. In other words: money is still moving to safe havens.

The news that has almost certainly been influencing the fed funds futures market the most today came from the housing sector. Earlier today, the National Association of Realtors® reported that sales of previously occupied homes fell by 2.2% last month, and sales were down by 22% from December '06 to December '07. The median price for a preowned home fell to $208,400, while the average price fell to $254.900 (preliminary data.) In the Northeast United States, the median price on a used home was down 8.9% for the December '06 to December '07 period.

The fed funds futures market is still 100% certain that the Fed will cut short-term rates by at least 25 basis points (0.25 percentage point) when the FOMC meets on January 30. As of right now, the market has odds at 68% that the Fed will cut short-term rates by 50 basis points, and current odds are at 32% that the Fed will opt instead for a 25 basis point cut on January 30.

Here's what these odds mean to all you hard working consumers out there: You can expect any loan that's tied to the WSJ Prime Rate (home equity lines of credit, variable-rate credit cards, business loans, personal loans, etc.) to be 1.00 percentage point lower by March (or April at the latest.) So if you have a variable-rate credit card that's indexed to Prime, and your current APR is 12%, you can look forward to your rate dropping to 11% within the next 2 months.

For those of you with a mortgage indexed to LIBOR, another Fed rate cut at the end of this month is great news for you too, because the LIBOR rates tend to move in tandem with the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate.

If you've been patiently waiting for just the right time to borrow, then you may want to wait a little while longer. The current cycle of Fed rate cuts may continue after January. Stay tuned for the latest odds.


Summary of The Latest Odds

As of right now, the investors who trade in fed funds futures at the Chicago Board of Trade have odds at 100% (as implied by current pricing on contracts) that the FOMC will vote to lower the benchmark Federal Funds Target Rate by at least 25 basis points (0.25 percentage point) at the January 30TH, 2008 monetary policy meeting.


Summary of the Latest Prime Rate Forecast:
  • Current odds that the Prime Rate will be cut by at least 25 basis points at the January 30TH FOMC monetary policy meeting: 100% (certain)
  • NB: U.S. Prime Rate = (The Federal Funds Target Rate + 3)

The odds related to federal-funds futures contracts -- widely accepted as the best predictor of where the FOMC will take the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate -- are constantly changing, so stay tuned for the latest odds.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

U.S. Prime Rate Is Now 6.50%

Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions - www.FedPrimeRate.com
Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions
Earlier today, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve adjourned an emergency monetary policy meeting, and, in accordance with the latest forecast, the FOMC has just lowered its target for the Federal Funds Rate by 75 basis points (0.75 percentage point) to 3.50%. Therefore, as of today, the U.S. Prime Rate is now 6.50%. Many American banks have already issued a press release announcing that their prime lending rate has been lowered from 7.25% to 6.50%.

Here's a clip from a press release issued by the FOMC earlier today:

"The Federal Open Market Committee has decided to lower its target for the federal funds rate 75 basis points to 3-1/2 percent.

The Committee took this action in view of a weakening of the economic outlook and increasing downside risks to growth. While strains in short-term funding markets have eased somewhat, broader financial market conditions have continued to deteriorate and credit has tightened further for some businesses and households. Moreover, incoming information indicates a deepening of the housing contraction as well as some softening in labor markets.

The Committee expects inflation to moderate in coming quarters, but it will be necessary to continue to monitor inflation developments carefully.

Appreciable downside risks to growth remain. The Committee will continue to assess the effects of financial and other developments on economic prospects and will act in a timely manner as needed to address those risks.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; Timothy F. Geithner, Vice Chairman; Charles L. Evans; Thomas M. Hoenig; Donald L. Kohn; Randall S. Kroszner; Eric S. Rosengren; and Kevin M. Warsh. Voting against was William Poole, who did not believe that current conditions justified policy action before the regularly scheduled meeting next week. Absent and not voting was Frederic S. Mishkin.

In a related action, the Board of Governors approved a 75-basis-point decrease in the discount rate to 4 percent. In taking this action, the Board approved the requests submitted by the Boards of Directors of the Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago and Minneapolis."

Despite today's intermeeting move by the Fed, the futures market is 100% certain that the Fed will cut short-term rates again on January 30TH.


Summary of The Latest Odds

As of right now, the investors who trade in fed funds futures at the Chicago Board of Trade have odds at 100% (as implied by current pricing on contracts) that the FOMC will vote to lower the benchmark Federal Funds Target Rate by at least 25 basis points (0.25 percentage point) at the January 30TH, 2008 monetary policy meeting.


Summary of the Latest Prime Rate Forecast:
  • Current odds that the Prime Rate will be cut by at least 25 basis points at the January 30TH FOMC monetary policy meeting: 100% (certain)
  • NB: U.S. Prime Rate = (The Federal Funds Target Rate + 3)

The odds related to federal-funds futures contracts -- widely accepted as the best predictor of where the FOMC will take the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate -- are constantly changing, so stay tuned for the latest odds.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Odds That The Fed Will Cut Short-Term Rates by 75 Basis Points Now at 72%

Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions - www.FedPrimeRate.com
Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions
Despite a significant rise for the Consumer Sentiment Index this month -- from 75.5 for December to 80.5 for January -- investors pulled more money out of stocks and into safer investments like U.S. Treasuries. Since closing with record highs on October 9, 2007, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has now lost 2,065.23 points (14.58%), while the S&P 500 has lost 239.96 points (15.331%). Yikes! On Friday, the yield on the 10-Year Treasury Note fell to 3.648%.

Last week, I remarked at how intense the odds from the fed funds futures market were looking. This week, the odds are still pretty intense. No one is betting that the Fed will cut rates by a wimpy 25 basis points (0.25 percentage point) by January 30 anymore. The future market now sees a 72% chance that the Fed will cut the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate by 75 basis points (0.75 percentage point) by January 30TH. In other words, the futures market believes, with 100% certainty, that the Fed will cut short-term rates by at least 50 basis points by the end of the month, with odds at 28% that we will get a cut of no more than 50 basis points by January 30TH.

What do these odds mean in real world terms? Well, if you have a variable-rate credit card that's indexed to the WSJ Prime Rate, then chances are your APR will be 0.50 percentage point lower by the time January 31 arrives. This is true for any loan or credit product that's tied to the U.S. Prime Rate. For some consumers, it may take a month or so for your bank to implement the rate change, but it's something you can look forward to.


Summary of The Latest Odds

As of right now, the investors who trade in fed funds futures at the Chicago Board of Trade have odds at 100% (as implied by current pricing on contracts) that the FOMC will vote to lower the benchmark Federal Funds Target Rate by at least 50 basis points (0.50 percentage point) at the January 30TH, 2007 monetary policy meeting.


Summary of the Latest Prime Rate Forecast:
  • Current odds that the Prime Rate will be cut by at least 50 basis points at the January 30TH FOMC monetary policy meeting: 100% (certain)
  • NB: U.S. Prime Rate = (The Federal Funds Target Rate + 3)

The odds related to federal-funds futures contracts -- widely accepted as the best predictor of where the FOMC will take the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate -- are constantly changing, so stay tuned for the latest odds.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Futures Market Now Certain The Fed Will Cut Rates By 50 Basis Points On January 30

Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions - www.FedPrimeRate.com
Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions
There was good news from the distressed financial sector this week: Bank of America is buying mortgage-origination behemoth Countrywide Financial. Countrywide, which is the nation's #1 home-loan lender, has taken a beating in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis, and there were rumors that the company might file for bankruptcy.

But the good news about Countrywide wasn't enough to keep the stock market from losing ground this week. In fact, since closing with record highs on October 9, 2007, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has lost 1,558.23 points (11.0%), while the S&P 500 has given up 164.13 points (10.487%). On Friday, New York Spot Gold crept closer to the $900 mark, and the yield on the 10-year treasury note fell to 3.81%.

Right now, the fed funds futures market thinks the economy is looking bad enough that the Fed will take aggressive action when the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) releases its decision on interest rates on January 30. The odds that the Fed will cut the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate by 50 basis points (0.50 percentage point) are currently at a very confident 100%; the market is also betting, at 34% odds, that the Fed will either cut rates before the January 30 meeting, or they will opt for a 75 basis point cut at the end of the month. Those are some pretty intense odds.


The Latest Odds

As of right now, the investors who trade in fed funds futures at the Chicago Board of Trade have odds at 100% (as implied by current pricing on contracts) that the FOMC will vote to lower the benchmark Federal Funds Target Rate by at least 50 basis points (0.50 percentage point) at the January 30TH, 2007 monetary policy meeting.


Summary of the Latest Prime Rate Forecast:
  • Current odds that the Prime Rate will be cut by at least 50 basis points at the January 30TH FOMC monetary policy meeting: 100% (certain)
  • NB: U.S. Prime Rate = (The Federal Funds Target Rate + 3)

The odds related to federal-funds futures contracts -- widely accepted as the best predictor of where the FOMC will take the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate -- are constantly changing, so stay tuned for the latest odds.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Odds On A 50 Basis Point Cut for January 30 Hit 90% On Bernanke Comments

Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions - www.FedPrimeRate.com
Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions
The implied odds that the Fed will opt for an aggressive 50 basis point (0.50 percentage point) cut on January 30 jumped to 90% after the fed funds futures market had a chance to digest comments made by Fed boss Ben Bernanke this morning. Here's a clip from Bernanke's speech at the Women in Housing and Finance / Exchequer Club Joint Luncheon in Washington, D.C.:

"...Monetary policy has responded proactively to evolving conditions. As you know, the Committee cut its target for the federal funds rate by 50 basis points at its September meeting and by 25 basis points each at the October and December meetings. In total, therefore, we have brought the funds rate down by a percentage point from its level just before financial strains emerged. The Federal Reserve took these actions to help offset the restraint imposed by the tightening of credit conditions and the weakening of the housing market. However, in light of recent changes in the outlook for and the risks to growth, additional policy easing may well be necessary. The Committee will, of course, be carefully evaluating incoming information bearing on the economic outlook. Based on that evaluation, and consistent with our dual mandate, we stand ready to take substantive additional action as needed to support growth and to provide adequate insurance against downside risks..."

The Latest Odds

As of right now, the investors who trade in fed funds futures at the Chicago Board of Trade have odds at 100% (as implied by current pricing on contracts) that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will vote to lower the benchmark Federal Funds Target Rate by at least 25 basis points (0.25 percentage point) at the January 30TH, 2007 monetary policy meeting.


Summary of the Latest Prime Rate Forecast:
  • Current odds that the Prime Rate will be cut by at least 25 basis points at the January 30TH FOMC monetary policy meeting: 100% (certain)
  • NB: U.S. Prime Rate = (The Federal Funds Target Rate + 3)

The odds related to federal-funds futures contracts -- widely accepted as the best predictor of where the FOMC will take the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate -- are constantly changing, so stay tuned for the latest odds.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

A 50 Basis Point Cut Is Now More Likely Than A Quarter-Point Cut for January 30

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Help Wanted!
Nonfarm payrolls advanced by 18,000 during December 2007, according to this morning's Labor Department report. Wall Street economists were expecting around 70,000 new jobs for last month. News that the unemployment rate jumped from 4.7% to 5.0% also surprised economists, many of whom were expecting the jobless rate to come in at 4.8%.

The investors who trade in fed funds futures reacted to today's employment report by raising bets that the Fed will opt for an aggressive cut on January 30. The futures market is still 100% certain that the Fed will lower the benchmark fed funds target rate at the end of the month; the odds on a 50 basis point (0.50 percentage point) cut are now at 68%, and the odds on a 25 basis point cut are currently at 32%.

Wall Street reacted bearishly to today's jobs report: the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell by 256.54 points (1.96%), the NASDAQ Composite lost 98.03 points (3.77%) and the S&P 500 declined by 35.53 points (2.46%). The yield on the 10-year treasury note fell to 3.854% and New York Spot Gold closed at $863.00 per ounce.


The Latest Odds

As of right now, the investors who trade in fed funds futures at the Chicago Board of Trade have odds at 100% (as implied by current pricing on contracts) that the FOMC will elect to lower the benchmark Federal Funds Target Rate by at least 25 basis points (0.25 percentage point) at the January 30TH, 2007 monetary policy meeting.


Summary of the Latest Prime Rate Forecast:
  • Current odds that the Prime Rate will be cut by at least 25 basis points at the January 30TH FOMC monetary policy meeting: 100% (certain)
  • NB: U.S. Prime Rate = (The Federal Funds Target Rate + 3)

The odds related to federal-funds futures contracts -- widely accepted as the best predictor of where the FOMC will take the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate -- are continually changing, so stay tuned for the latest odds.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Odds On A Rate Cut for the January 30 Monetary Policy Meeting Now at 100%

Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions - www.FedPrimeRate.com
Prime Rate Forecast - Predictions
The odds that the Fed will cut short-term rates on January 30TH hit 100% today on discouraging news related to U.S. manufacturing, and the release of minutes from the December 11TH Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. In fact, the implied odds that the Fed will opt for an aggressive 50 basis point (0.50 percentage point) cut are now at 24%, with odds of a 25 basis point cut at 76%.

Influencing the futures market today:

  • The Institute for Supply Management's Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) for December came in at 47.7%. With the PMI, any figure above 50% suggests that the U.S. manufacturing is expanding, while any figure below 50% suggests that manufacturing is contracting. Wall Street economists were expecting around 50.9% for December. The PMI has been falling since June of 2007. This news adds credence to the notion that a recession may be in the offing.
  • Earlier this afternoon, the FOMC released the minutes from it's December 11TH monetary policy meeting. Here's a clip:

    "...Participants noted the marked deceleration in consumer spending in the national data. Real personal consumption expenditures had shown essentially no growth in September and October, suggesting that tighter credit conditions, higher gasoline prices, and the continuing housing correction might be restraining growth in real consumer spending. Retailers reported weaker results in many regions of the country, but in some, retailers saw solid growth. Job growth rebounded somewhat in October and November, and participants expected continuing gains in employment and income to support rising consumer spending, though they anticipated slower growth of jobs, income, and spending than in recent years. However, consumer confidence recently had dropped by a sizable amount, leading some participants to voice concerns that household spending might increase less than currently anticipated.

    Recent data and anecdotal information indicated that the housing sector was weaker than participants had expected at the time of the Committee’s previous meeting. In light of elevated inventories of unsold homes and the higher cost and reduced availability of nonconforming mortgage loans, participants agreed that the housing correction was likely to be both deeper and more prolonged than they had anticipated in October. Moreover, rising foreclosures and the resulting increase in the supply of homes for sale could put additional downward pressure on prices, leading to a greater decline in household wealth and potentially to further disruptions in the financial markets..."

The prospect of another rate cut by the Fed sent the price of gold and crude oil higher today: crude for future delivery is currently trading at $99.60 per barrel, with New York Spot Gold at $858.20 per ounce.


The Latest Odds

As of right now, the investors who trade in fed funds futures at the Chicago Board of Trade have odds at 100% (as implied by current pricing on contracts) that the FOMC will vote to lower the benchmark Federal Funds Target Rate by at least 25 basis points (0.25 percentage point) at the January 30TH, 2007 monetary policy meeting.


Summary of the Latest Prime Rate Forecast:
  • Current odds that the Prime Rate will be cut by at least 25 basis points at the January 30TH FOMC monetary policy meeting: 100% (certain)
  • NB: U.S. Prime Rate = (The Federal Funds Target Rate + 3)

The odds related to federal-funds futures contracts -- widely accepted as the best predictor of where the FOMC will take the benchmark Fed Funds Target Rate -- are continually changing, so stay tuned for the latest odds. Odds may experience a significant shift on the release of the following economic report:

  • Friday, January 4, 2008: The Labor Department releases the December Employment Situation Report.

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