Bonds & Equities Shaken By Fitch Downgrade Of US Credit
This week was filled with noteworthy economic developments. The bond market experienced significant fluctuations following Fitch’s downgrade of the US credit rating from AAA to AA. The latest July Jobs Report, though weaker than expected, provided some relief to the bond market (which experienced a notable climb earlier in the week). Nonetheless, persistent wage growth and a tight job market continue to challenge the Federal Reserve. As a result, inflation remains a concern at the forefront.
Amidst these developments, other factors are contributing to inflationary pressures. These factors include rising commodity prices, geopolitical tensions, and potential labor strikes. While the immediate impact of the Fitch downgrade may be limited, it serves as a vital reminder that addressing long-term spending issues is important for our nation’s prosperity.
The Future Of Rates & The Impact Of Inflation
The path of interest rates remains uncertain. Some potential scenarios range from further rate hikes due to wage inflation to a soft-landing recession narrative. All outcomes necessitate careful navigation of the Fed’s interest rate and QT policies. While we observe signs of falling inflation, wage inflation persists, leaving room for at least one more potential rate hike (if not two) in the future.
On the other hand, the consequences of the Fed’s substantial rate hikes over the past year and QT policies are gradually seeping into the financial system. As interest rates rise, lenders are tightening their loan offerings. Narrowing such loan options could impact economic growth in the coming months. Even so, it is worth noting that the American consumer has demonstrated remarkable resilience, readily accepting higher interest rates and loan payments.
The normalization of mortgage rates on a historical basis is apparent, but when combined with soaring home prices, the overall cost feels steep. As a result, the existing home sale market has experienced a slowdown in activity. At the same time, some market segments have witnessed odd price increases due to a lack of available housing supply. Despite these challenges, the adaptability of consumers underscores their ability to weather economic fluctuations.