Bond king Jeff Gundlach has some harsh words for the Federal Reserveas it meets this week: Back off — or the consequences will haunt you.
If the U.S. central bank doesn’t dial down its recent hawkish statements in Wednesday’s post-Federal Open Market Committee meeting statement, “markets are going to humiliate them by further declining,” Gundlach said Monday at the Inside ETFs conference in Florida. After a particularly volatile month in the equities market, the head of DoubleLine Capital compared Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s strategy of continuing on a path to raise rates to the board game “KaBoom!” — where anxiety builds as players wait for a balloon to pop.
“Back in September, the Fed was going to raise rates,” Gundlach told CNBC’s “Fast Money.” “If you’d asked Janet three days before the September meeting, she probably would have said, ‘We’re going to raise rates.’ And then, kind of inexplicably, they didn’t do it … and so they felt compelled to do that in December, for absolutely no good reason at all.”
December’s interest rate hike was a critical error, and further tightening the money supply now risks tipping the economy into recession, Gundlach said.
With manufacturing struggling and inflation under control, Gundlach said he doesn’t know “what the heck the Fed is doing.” He pointed to indicators like the contractions in the ISM manufacturing index and rising rents as evidence of economic trouble.
Gundlach’s comments come as Fed counterpart the European Central Bank is expected to move in the opposite direction and loosen its money supply. Though gross domestic product is growing more slowly in Europe, these “diametrically opposite monetary policies” don’t make sense, Gundlach said.
The Fed plans to release its next statement at 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday