Goldman Sachs' estimate of September rate-hike odds continue to collapse faster than Hillary Clinton as the absence of a clear signal from a series of speeches by Fed officials (concluding with Lael Brainard's headfake). Goldman have reduced their subjective odds for a hike next week to 25% from 40% previously (still above market expectations of 13%) but remains hopeful for December. However, as Fed-whisperer WSJ's Jon Hilsenrath warns, Yellen faces record levels of dissent as she "confronts a divided group of policy-makers."
Goldman: "we are lowering our subjective odds of a rate increase at the September FOMC meeting from 55% to 40%. We are nudging up the odds of a rate increase at the December meeting to 30% from 25%, but taking the cumulative odds for at least one hike this year down to 70% from 80%. With slightly softer data and less “time on the clock”, a rate increase this year now looks a bit less certain, in our view."
"Nothing happens without a good reason in these speeches, especially as far as monetary policy signals are concerned. The phrasing “case…has strengthened” was blunt language for a Fed Chair, which would have been unnecessary if she was only trying to convey a general sense that rates would be moving higher over time. There are plenty of other opportunities to prepare markets for a move before the December meeting."
Growth in nonfarm payrolls was weaker than consensus estimates at +151k, but above the pace Fed officials typically consider sufficient to hold the unemployment rate steady over time—the so called “breakeven rate”. We therefore see this report as just enough for a large majority of officials to support a September rate increase. We have therefore raised our subjective odds of a hike this month to 55% from 40%.
With pundits unable to decide if Yellen's speech was hawkish or dovish, we need a tiebreaker, and as always the best one is the bank that has spawned more central bankers than any other institution, Goldman Sachs. As such, according to the just released analysis of Goldman's Jan Hatzius, the Fed speech "raised the odds of a rate increase at the September FOMC meeting," but he adds that "any action will depend on the result of next week's jobs report. "
Baby Boomers are on the precipice of transitioning into retirement. With trillions of dollars of underfunded liabilities promised to help smooth their transition their declining incomes are likely the least of our worries.
"The May 18 minutes surprised virtually everyone by guiding strongly toward a rate hike in June or July, and Chair Yellen reinforced this message in her remarks at Harvard University on May 27. But the weak May employment report released on June 3 and increased concern about the UK referendum again triggered a sharp pivot, putting on hold the notion of further hikes. These dramatic shifts have frustrated many market participants. In our view, the Fed has been unlucky."
US employment growth rebounded sharply in June, according to Goldman's Jan Hatzius, and as a result, the bank confirms their expectation of about a two-thirds chance that the FOMC will raise rates this year, most likely in December... notably different from market expectations.
"Chair Yellen broke little new ground in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee. She remained upbeat about the economic outlook, but said that the FOMC would need to watch incoming labor market data to determine whether recent signs of slowing are indeed transitory."
Shortly before Brazil's crushing 7-1 defeat to Germany in 2014's World Cup, Goldman Sachs econometric model forecast the South American team as by far the strongest favorite to lift football's soccer's greatest trophy. So, with that in mind, Jan Hatzius and his hooligans unleash their predictions for the 2016 European Football Championship that just got under way. Using historical performance data for each team - most importantly the Elo rating system originally devised to rank chess players - they estimate a set of probabilities that a particular team will reach a particular round, up to and including the championship... concluding that France (the hosts) are the most likely to win. Bet accordingly.
We suspect Lloyd Blankfein will be receiving a call from The White House (or Treasury) very soon as Goldman Sachs' economists did the unthinkable in the age of political correctness - while investigating the state of under-employment in America, the smartest people in the room found that ObamaCare has led to a rise in involuntary part-time employment, estimating that "a few hundred thousand workers" have been forced to cut hours and has "created disincentives for full-time employment."
The FOMC may have cut its rate hike forecast from 4 to 2, following by an even more dovish speech by Janet Yellen, but Goldman is convinced the Fed is wrong. As a result, after looking at today's payrolls report, its chief economist Jan Hatzius said that "we ultimately think the committee will move faster than the two-hike pace implied by the latest “dot plot”, despite the dovish signals from the March meeting and Chair Yellen’s remarks this week" and that "we continue to expect the FOMC to raise rates three times in 2016." This means rate hikes during all the upcoming FOMC meetings that have a conference: June, September and December.
Inside the Beltway all politicians are the same. They do the bidding of vested interests, lobbyists, and whoever else has the money. No one knows that better than Goldman Sachs, a firm which has its fingers (or “tentacles” as it were) in every political pie that matters (well, except one perhaps). Here is Goldman's 2016 election preview.
"One interpretation of the recent moves by the major central banks is that they represent a coordinated attempt to ease global financial conditions while avoiding upward pressure on the US dollar," Goldman writes. Yellen, the bank says, was more than happy to participate - this time. But as the US economy hits full employment, the Fed's calculus will change. Then come the hikes. Or so says the Squid.