The upcoming Federal Reserve meeting has generated speculation about the central bank’s potential decisions regarding interest rates. Will it opt for a hike, a pause, or a hold? In this article, we delve into each option and provide insights into the possible outcomes and their implications.

1. Fed pause: Allowing time for economic impact

The most anticipated decision is a pause in rate hikes. The Federal Reserve is expected to take this route, providing time for the effects of previous rate adjustments to permeate the US economic system. While this decision may not elicit an immediate reaction, the Fed will need to signal future rate hikes in order to see a more hawkish market reaction. A hawkish reaction will support the USD, weaken gold, and pressure global stocks.

2. Fed hike: Factors influencing the decision

The next likely option is a 25 bps rate hike. A tight labor market, persistently high inflation exceeding the 2% target, and STIR markets indicating a 1 in 4 chance of a hike all contribute to the possibility of a surprise. However, the market reaction will largely depend on the accompanying guidance. If the Fed hikes but signals a hold for the near future, expect a dovish response. On the other hand, if it hints at a July rate hike, a hawkish reaction is likely, impacting stocks, USD, and precious metals as per above.

3. Fed hold: Unlikely but volatile

The least probable option is a hold, where the Fed indicates no further rate changes. Considering the recent turn towards hawkishness by central banks like RBA, BoC, and BoE, it becomes less likely for the Fed to declare “mission accomplished” on rate hikes. However, a hold decision carries significant volatility. If the Fed signals a hold, it could lead to a strong surge in gold prices and gold longs would likely be cheering prices higher.

Throughout these potential scenarios, gold remains a key asset to monitor. If the dot plot in the Fed’s projections suggests possible rate cuts this year, it would provide further support for gold prices. The interplay between rate expectations, economic projections, and precious metals underscores the importance of understanding the Fed’s guidance.

As the Federal Reserve prepares for its upcoming meeting, the financial world awaits its decision on rate hikes, a pause, or a hold. By assessing the potential outcomes and their implications, including the impact on STIR markets and the role of precious metals like gold, we gain valuable insights into the likely impact of the Fed’s guidance. Monitoring the dot plot and economic projections will help gauge the future direction of monetary policy and its influence on various market sectors.