Inflection points are often apparent only in hindsight. While it’s premature to call a top to the current rate and inflation cycle, signs are evident that change is underway.
Last week’s Fed rate hike of 25 bps, a deceleration from its previous three monthly moves, is a case in point. At 4.50-4.75% we are within a hike or two away from the 5%-ish terminal rate at which the market expects the Fed to level off for a wait-and-see.
The questions are how long will they wait, and what will they see? Last Friday’s job report may have given them pause. Is the economy still in need of a smack down, or will the labor market settle down as other inflation indicators seem to have done?
Having all but summited the rate mountain in record-time, regulators have time consider their options. Assuming 6% is the point when financial markets grind to a halt, they have well into the summer to continue with a ¼ point per meeting rise. Lots could happen by then.