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Special Report

Financial Markets Research Brief

October 2019

Fed Delivers Third Rate Cut, Sustains Prospect of Continued Growth

Fed remains accommodative. In an effort to lengthen the economic runway, the Federal Reserve on Oct. 30 cut the overnight rate by 25 basis points for the third time in 100 days. Domestic growth has been moderating this year, falling to 1.9 percent in the third quarter as the trade war with China curtailed exports and ebbed inventory investment. With tariffs on Chinese goods increasingly coming into play, the economy could face additional pressure, but the Fed has signaled that another rate cut in December will be dependent on incoming data. Several Fed members have argued against additional cuts, as both inflation and unemployment remain very low. A decision on rate policy will largely be determined by the holiday retail season and ongoing trade talks. Should a resolution to the trade war be achieved, the economy and interest rates will likely witness an upward bounce. The Fed’s commitment to short-term Treasury purchases remains another key factor, increasing liquidity in the overnight markets and reducing short-term interest rates. This has helped “uninvert” the yield curve as the three-month Treasury rate fell below the 10-year reading. Though this has reduced recession risk, many speculate that a recession could still be on the horizon.

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