In the face of the destabilizing Brexit vote and increasingly dovish views from the Fed, the Mortgage Bankers Association still thinks a rate hike is on the way.
(Update: An earlier version stated the MBA believed there would be two hikes this year. After the story published, the association said it was changing its forecast to one increase this year.)
The view is contrary perceived wisdom, with traders expecting no chance of a hike this year while in fact pricing in a small probability of a rate cut. Fed officials, at their June meeting, indicated that two hikes were still on the table for 2016, but that was before British voters opted to leave the European Union, a move that jolted financial markets and considerably diminished rate hike expectations.
The association subsequently said it was changing its forecast from two hikes to one. An official said an analysis issued Tuesday erred in referencing the Brexit vote in the past tense.
“MBA now predicts that the Fed will hike only once this year, likely in December. If the financial market disruption from Brexit persists, the likelihood of even a December hike would be reduced,” Mike Fratantoni, chief economist at the MBA, said in an emailed statement.
Kan said he still projects U.S. gross domestic product to gain 2 percent for the rest of the year, and with other economic gains will give the Fed clearance to resume the rate normalization process.
Traders, however, disagree.
The CME’s FedWatch tool, which tracks fed funds futures contracts and assigns probabilities for hikes at each of the Federal Open Market Committee meetings, shows a 98.8 percent chance that the Fed in July will hold the line on its current target range of 0.25 to 0.5 percent for the overnight rate. There is a 1.2 percent chance of a cut, with no chance assigned to a hike.
In fact, the probability of a rate increase doesn’t come into play until November, and even then there’s just a 1.9 percent chance. Traders assign a 19.3 percent chance of a hike in December.