Four Back-to-Back Half-Point Fed Hikes Is Traders’ Latest Bet

(Bloomberg) — Traders are wagering the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates by its largest interval in over two decades in each of its next four scheduled decisions. 

Money markets are pricing in 200 basis points of tightening by the Fed’s September decision, according to interest-rate swaps. That implies a half-point hike — unheard of since 2000 — in May, June, July and September to take the upper bound of the federal funds rate’s target range to 2.50%. 

The repricing comes after Fed Chair Jerome Powell outlined his most aggressive approach to taming inflation to date on Thursday. Powell’s St. Louis Fed colleague James Bullard has also opened a debate about doing a more aggressive 75 basis-point increase if needed, while even normally dovish officials like San Francisco’s Mary Daly have said that a “couple” of half-point moves are likely.


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