A poll of nearly 200 National Association of Business Economics (NABE) members revealed on Monday that the Federal Reserve won’t be able to tame inflation without tipping the U.S. economy into a recession, according to a new Fox Business report.
In fact, a whopping 72 percent of the economists surveyed are expecting that a recession will start by the middle of next year—or believe that the economy is already mired in one. Meantime, roughly 20 percent of respondents say the economy is currently in a recession, while another 20 percent are not expecting a downturn to begin before the second half of next year.
“Survey results reflect many split opinions among the panelists,” NABE President David Altig said in a statement.
“This by itself suggests there is less clarity than usual about the outlook,” he continued.
NABE Policy Survey Chair Juhi Dhawan added that the semiannual poll’s key takeaway was that the economists are undoubtedly “concerned about inflation and recession.”
“Overall, panelists are not confident that the Federal Reserve will be able to bring inflation down to its 2 percent goal within the next two years without triggering a recession,” Dhawan continued in a statement.
Amid the fast-increasing recession fears, the Federal Reserve is expected to hike interest rates by fifty basis points in September, according to economists in a Reuters poll. Late last month, the central bank raised its key short-term rate by three-quarters of a percentage point for a second consecutive month. The unanimously approved rate hike put the federal funds rate at a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent, the highest level seen since December 2018.
The rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee, in its post-meeting statement, acknowledged that “inflation remains elevated, reflecting supply and demand imbalances related to the pandemic, higher food and energy prices, and broader price pressures.”
Meanwhile, per Insider, Goldman Sachs’ chief economist Jan Hatzius has contended that the Fed likely won’t begin slashing interest rates unless a recession hits the economy.
“I think in a small-growth environment when the Fed is trying to squeeze inflation lower, I think they would be very resistant to rate cuts. So, I think those cuts are probably somewhat excessive from a market pricing perspective,” he told Bloomberg on Tuesday.
“I think it could be a couple years [before the Fed cuts rates]. I think while inflation will look a lot better a year from now, I think it will still be significantly above the target and ultimately they do want to get it back down to pretty close to 2 percent,” he added.
JPMorgan strategists are expecting the Fed to deliver another substantial interest rate hike next month, but that could be the last of such moves as growth begins to slow.
“We expect another outsized Fed hike in September, but post that we would look for the Fed not to surprise the markets on the hawkish side again,” the bank explained in an analyst note on Monday.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.