Traders see another rate cut coming

Jill Barshay Jan 24, 2008


Doug Krizner: Chinese stocks rallied on news China’s economy grew at 11.4 percent last year.

Andy Rothman is a strategist at CLSA in Shanghai:

Andy Rothman: It is a remarkable story, especially when you think back that less than 20 years ago, this was a completely state-dominated, command and control economy. And now it’s a thriving one, with a big middle class supported by an amazingly entrepreneurial set of small and medium-sized companies.

China accounts for 17 percent of global growth. The big question is whether it can make up for a slowdown in the U.S.

We know the Fed took a stab at trying to avoid a recession when it slashed interest rates Tuesday. As Jill Barshay reports, the pros are betting the Fed will make another big cut next week.

Jill Barshay: Traders see a 100 percent chance the Fed will cut its target interest rate by at least a half a percentage point at its meeting next week. That’s according to yesterday’s close of the Chicago futures market.

Economist Lou Crandall tracks Federal Reserve policy at research firm Wrightson ICAP. He says hedge funds who buy futures are watching the stock market closely. As stocks fell yesterday, hedge funds raced to place bets the Fed would cut rates — just like the Fed did earlier this week to stop the global market meltdown.

Lou Crandall: Since this rate cut was clearly triggered by equity market conditions, stocks are being given a greater weight in the market in deciding what the Fed might do next week.

Traders are predicting a rate cut twice as large as economists are right now. Crandall says the futures market has been extraordinarily accurate in predicting Fed policy.

But it’s not perfect. Traders low-balled the Fed rate cut of last September by half.

In New York, I’m Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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