LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bank of America (BofA) and Citi have joined a small but growing number of top investment banks calling for more aggressive interest rate increases from the U.S. Federal Reserve against a backdrop of soaring inflation data and hawkish comments from policymakers.
BoFA now expects two hikes of 50 basis points each at the Fed’s June and July meetings with “risks” of those expectations being pulled forward into May and June respectively.
Citi, on the other hand, sees 50 basis-point increases in May, June, July, and September. The bank also expects 25 basis-point tightening in October and December.
“Our economists also now expect the Fed to keep hiking each meeting until they reach a 3-3.25% range in May ’23,” economists at the bank said. “This represents a 25 bps higher terminal rate achieved 7 months earlier vs previously forecast.”
Money markets are assigning an 80% probability of a 50 bps rate hike in May and about 200 basis points in cumulative hikes by the end of 2022 after the Fed raised rates by a quarter point last week.
Goldman Sachs expects as much as seven rate hikes in 2022 and as many as five in 2023.
Citi expects the Fed to continue hiking into 2023, reaching a policy rate target range of 3.5-3.75%.
“Recent Fed speak raised our conviction that Chair (Jerome) Powell and the broader committee will support a 50-bp rate hike in May, despite balance sheet reduction announced at the same meeting,” Citi said in its latest note.
“It appears that 50-bp would have been delivered in March if not for acute uncertainty related to geopolitical tensions,” Citi said.
(Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in London and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Porter)