Hot inflation leads some banks to speculate on a monster 1% rate hike this month
An unexpectedly hot inflation print is spurring speculation at two major Wall Street firms on a hefty rate hike at the Federal Reserve’s upcoming policy meeting. Nomura economist Aichi Amemiya said the data-dependent Fed will have to act even more aggressively in light of the scorching price pressures. “We believe the outright acceleration, for the second consecutive month, will likely encourage participants to now push for a 100bp hike,” Amemiya said in a note. “That may be particularly true considering one of the major drivers of the upside surprise in June was rent inflation, which remains a driver of overall trend inflation measures.” Roberto Perli, head of global policy at Piper Sandler, also believes that the June CPI data cemented the need for an aggressive Fed. “Don’t be too surprised if the Fed hikes 100bps this month,” Perli said in a note. “At a minimum, a 75-bp hike is a given at the July 26-27 FOMC meeting. But a 100-bp hike will likely be on the table.” He added that a rate hike of that magnitude can’t be considered a base case as of now, however. June’s consumer price index came in at 9.1%, well above the 8.8% year-over-year headline number expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones. That was the highest pace since November 1981. The Fed’s next policy-setting meeting will be on July 26 and July 27. Following Wednesday’s hot CPI report, traders are pricing in a nearly 80% chance of a 1% rate hike this month, according to CME Fed Watch tool. Last month, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rates three-quarters of a percentage point to a range of 1.5%-1.75% in its most aggressive hike since 1994.