Weekly Economic Update, December 17th, 2018
If the Fed needs an excuse to skip the much-anticipated rate hike at the December 18-19 policy meeting, it could probably find something among the batch of recent data and events. After all, job growth slowed in November, key inflation gauges eased in October and November, housing activity is languishing and business investment spending is stagnant. Add to this mix of downbeat data the ongoing turmoil in the financial markets, a flattening yield curve, slowing global growth, a heated trade dispute with China and a Duke University survey revealing that 50 percent of CFOs expect a recession in 2019, and the Fed could find enough reasons to justify a pause in its rate-hiking campaign. In fact, some economists believe that there would be little harm if the Fed waited another six weeks until the January meeting to see how things play out.