FOMC meeting preview: none so deaf as those that will not hear. FOMC meeting preview: none so deaf as those that will not hear. FOMC meeting preview: none so deaf as those that will not hear.

FOMC meeting preview: none so deaf as those that will not hear.

Bonds
Althea Spinozzi

Head of Fixed Income Strategy

Summary: 
- Before the FOMC meeting, the focus will be on CPI data for the 3-, 10- and 30-year auctions. Demand for duration amid disinflationary trends will be tested on Tuesday.
- The federal fund rate is likely to be left unchanged at 5.25%-5.5%. Still, the revision of the Federal Reserve’s summary of economic projections (SEP) and the dot plot will be a critical focus.
- An upward revision in growth due to a faster disinflationary trend could fuel further speculations of a soft landing, but it will also put at odds markets’ expectations of five rate cuts in 2024.
- A lower dot plot and lower projected inflation will likely consolidate the recent bond rally.
- In the coming months, the Federal Reserve needs to move towards cuts quickly to justify current bond future valuations, and that will unlikely happen, putting upward pressure on yields.
- Significant pre-emptive rate cuts are unlikely amid supportive fiscal spending.


Although the Fed fund rate is likely to be left unchanged, the FOMC December meeting will certainly not be dull.

Markets are pricing 125 basis points rate cuts by the end of next year as investors are fast to claim that inflation is dead. However, the FOMC September dot plot shows that policymakers expect to cut rates only twice next year, making the divergence between markets and the Federal Reserve's projections the perfect volatility cocktail.

Despite such a dramatic divergence in rate cut expectations, economists are somewhat aligned with the FOMC summary of economic projections (SEP) for the next few years. Indeed, core PCE is expected by the end of next year at 2.7% by economists surveyed by Bloomberg and at 2.6% by the SEP. Similarly, real growth and the unemployment rate are expected at 1.5% and 4.1% according to SEP and around 1.2% and 4.3% by economists.

Yet, the Fed might be looking to update some of those projections. In October, the core PCE price index was up 3.5% YoY, well below the 3.7% the Fed estimated to end the year with. At the same time, the October unemployment rate has risen to 3.9%, well above the unemployment rate expected by the central bank at the end of 2023.

That should lead the Fed to revise inflation down and unemployment up, agreeing with markets' view that there is no reason to hike any further, fueling discussions concerning when interest rate cuts will begin and by how much.

Yet, it’s uncertain what the SEP will show in terms of real growth projections. Seeing a faster disinflationary trend than anticipated might lead to an upward revision in growth, fueling speculations of a soft landing. That might be enough to put at odds market expectations of five rate cuts next year, besides the dot plot.

The FOMC dot plot will be the market's big focus. The median rate cuts expected for next year and 2025 will likely shift further down. However, considering that in September, only five members were showing a rate of 4.625% or below by Q4 2024, it is unlikely that we are going to see other members lowering their expectations below that threshold, making the Q4 2024 median rate more likely to remain between 4.8% to 5%.

Although the gap between policymakers and bond future markets' expectations of rate cuts will remain wide, a lower dot plot combined with lower projected price pressures will likely consolidate the recent bond rally.

The real challenge for bond markets will come in the next couple of months when central banks need to move towards cuts quickly to justify current bond future valuations.

Central banks are unlikely to deliver aggressive rate cuts pre-emptively for the following reasons:

  1. Pre-emptive cuts might add to inflationary pressures, especially in a supportive fiscal environment.
  2. Lower rates reduce central banks’ potential to ease the economy amid an upcoming recession.

That’s why, as central banks have fought to significantly tighten the economy amid a dangerously high wave of inflation, they will only move once they have the certainty of having fixed this problem. Otherwise, they risk entering stagflation, a period of high inflation and high unemployment, which is a much more challenging scenario to deal with, especially during an election year.

Ahead of the FOMC meeting: three-, ten-, and thirty-year US Treasury auctions and CPI numbers.

Next week is not going to be all about the Fed. Markets will have to weather a double auction on Monday, with the US Treasury selling three- and ten-year US Treasury, a thirty-year auction, and CPI numbers on Tuesday.

The 10- and 30-year US Treasury auctions will be the main focus, as after the dramatic drop in yields, buying longer-term bonds has become most expensive since September. After witnessing an ugly 30-year US Treasury auction last month with primary dealers taking 24.7% of the issue, the largest share since November 2021, the question is whether investors will step in this time when the yield on the 30-year tenor is roughly 50bps lower than last month. Weak bidding metrics in the 30-year tenor might reignite the bear steepening of the yield curve.

To set the grounds ahead of the 30-year auction is a new set of US CPI data. While the headline CPI is expected to have dropped to 3.1% YoY in November from 3.2% in October, Core CPI is expected to have remained flat at 4%. While it is true that if numbers show a faster disinflationary trend that would be bullish for bonds, it's key to bear in mind that it is more likely for an auction to tail if a considerable drop in yields precedes it. Yet, the magnitude of such a tail will dictate whether investors see it or not as a sign of fiscal dominance, as well as the constraints that the US Treasury has in raising additional new debt in markets. Let's remember that the US Treasury was meant to sell $38 billion in 10-year notes and $22 billion in 30-year bonds next week, according to suggestions from the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee TBAC. Yet, due to weaker bidding metrics, the Treasury has decided to play it safe and sell $1 billion less than what was suggested.

Suppose the US Treasury happens to follow the suggested increases in US Treasury notes and bond issuance in the first quarter of 2024. In that case, the auction size will rise to a record high, even above what markets used to absorb amid the COVID pandemic when quantitative easing (QE) was a supportive force for markets.

Disclaimer

Saxo Capital Markets (Australia) Limited prepares and distributes information/research produced within the Saxo Bank Group for informational purposes only. In addition to the disclaimer below, if any general advice is provided, such advice does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of trading any financial instrument as trading can result in losses that exceed your initial investment. Please refer to our Analysis Disclaimer, and our Financial Services Guide and Product Disclosure Statement. All legal documentation and disclaimers can be found at https://www.home.saxo/en-au/legal/.

The Saxo Bank Group entities each provide execution-only service. Access and use of Saxo News & Research and any Saxo Bank Group website are subject to (i) the Terms of Use; (ii) the full Disclaimer; and (iii) the Risk Warning in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of the website of a member of the Saxo Bank Group.

Saxo News & Research is provided for informational purposes, does not contain (and should not be construed as containing) financial, investment, tax or trading advice or advice of any sort offered, recommended or endorsed by Saxo Bank Group and should not be construed as a record of our trading prices, or as an offer, incentive or solicitation for the subscription, sale or purchase in any financial instrument. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. No Saxo Bank Group entity shall be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information on Saxo News & Research.

To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, such content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, would be considered as a marketing communication.

None of the information contained here constitutes an offer to purchase or sell a financial instrument, or to make any investments.Saxo Capital Markets does not take into account your personal investment objectives or financial situation and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the information nor for any loss arising from any investment made in reliance of this presentation. Any opinions made are subject to change and may be personal to the author. These may not necessarily reflect the opinion of Saxo Capital Markets or its affiliates.

Please read our disclaimers:
- Full Disclaimer (https://www.home.saxo/en-au/legal/disclaimer/saxo-disclaimer)
- Analysis Disclaimer (https://www.home.saxo/en-au/legal/analysis-disclaimer/saxo-analysis-disclaimer)
- Notification on Non-Independent Investment Research (https://www.home.saxo/legal/niird/notification)

Saxo Capital Markets (Australia) Limited
Suite 1, Level 14, 9 Castlereagh St
Sydney NSW 2000
Australia

Contact Saxo

Select region

Australia
Australia

The Saxo trading platform has received numerous awards and recognition. For details of these awards and information on awards visit www.home.saxo/en-au/about-us/awards

Saxo Capital Markets (Australia) Limited ABN 32 110 128 286 AFSL 280372 (‘Saxo’ or ‘Saxo Capital Markets’) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saxo Bank A/S, headquartered in Denmark. Please refer to our General Business Terms, Financial Services Guide, Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination to consider whether acquiring or continuing to hold financial products is suitable for you, prior to opening an account and investing in a financial product.

Trading in financial instruments carries various risks, and is not suitable for all investors. Please seek expert advice, and always ensure that you fully understand these risks before trading. Saxo Capital Markets does not provide ‘personal’ financial product advice, any information available on this website is ‘general’ in nature and for informational purposes only. Saxo Capital Markets does not take into account an individual’s needs, objectives or financial situation. The Target Market Determination should assist you in determining whether any of the products or services we offer are likely to be consistent with your objectives, financial situation and needs.

Apple, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries. AppStore is a service mark of Apple Inc.

The information or the products and services referred to on this website may be accessed worldwide, however is only intended for distribution to and use by recipients located in countries where such use does not constitute a violation of applicable legislation or regulations. Products and Services offered on this website is not intended for residents of the United States and Japan.

Please click here to view our full disclaimer.