The Federal Reserve is about to make another interest rate decision. What are the odds of a cut? (2024)


By Aimee Picchi

Edited By Alain Sherter

/ CBS News

With the Federal Reserve set to release its latest policy statement on Wednesday, inflation-weary consumers are eager to learn when the central bank might startcutting its benchmark interest rate, providing some relief from high borrowing costs.

Unfortunately for consumers, the Fed is widely expected to keep rates steady amid stubbornly high inflation, which remains more than a percentage point above the central bank's annualized target of about 2%.

Almost all economists polled by financial data firm FactSet are predicting that monetary policy makers will maintain the federal funds rate in a range of 5.25% to 5.5% — the highest level in 23 years, and where it's sat since the Fed's July 2023 meeting. Still, consumers and investors alike will be listening for clues about the Fed's rate outlook.

Federal Reserve officials earlier this year were forecasting three rate cuts, but stubbornly high inflation has clouded its timeline for easing borrowing costs.

"Inflation is proving to be sticky in the near term, and continues to linger above the Federal Reserve's 2% target," said Stephen J. Rich, CEO of Mutual of America Capital Management, in an email. "This will likely keep the Fed on hold through the summer, although the consensus is that inflation will gradually decline over the remainder of the year."

The delay in cutting rates is hurting lower- and middle-income consumers, who are struggling on two fronts, Rich noted: Inflation remains elevated, raising the costs of everything from groceries to rent, while borrowing costs are also high, making it more expensive to carry credit card debt or take out a loan.

Here's what to expect from the upcoming Fed meeting, and beyond.

When will the Federal Reserve cut rates?

Many economists still think the Fed will cut rates at some point in 2024—just not at the June 12 meeting.

According to FactSet, about 9 in 10 economists are predicting that the Fed will also keep rates steady at its July 31 meeting. The first chance of some relief could be at the central bank's September 18 meeting, with about half of economists penciling in the year's first rate cut for that date.

On the other hand, most economists don't expect the Fed to increase rates given that inflation has steadily receded from its recent peak of 9.1% in June 2022. In April, consumer prices were rising at an annual rate of 3.4%. The Personal Consumption Index — the Fed's preferred inflation gauge in making rate decisions — in April was up2.7% from a year ago.

How many times is the Fed likely to cut rates in 2024?

Wall Street and consumers alike will be watching for clues from the Fed about whether the bank continues to predict three rate cuts in 2024, which it had indicated earlier this year. Some economists are already scaling back their forecasts for the number of rate cuts they expect for 2024. For example, Solita Marcelli of UBS Global Wealth Management predicts two cuts this year, with the first one occurring in September.

The Fed on Wednesday will also issue updated economic projections, which are expected to show that they envision one or two rate cuts by year-end, down from a forecast of three in March.

What is influencing the Fed's decision on interest rates?

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has repeatedly stated that the central bank prefers keep rates elevated until inflation falls closer to its 2% goal because of the risk that cutting too soon could fuel another round of price spikes.

Although inflation has retreated from its 2022 highs, it's remained at an annual rate of about 3.4% to 3.5% so far in 2024, fueled in particular by higher housing costs. According to the Fed's statement after its May 1 meeting, that suggests "a lack of further progress" on defeating inflation.

The Department of Labor is scheduled Wednesday to release the Consumer Price Index for May. Economists expect inflation last month to come in at 3.4%, or unchanged from April, according to FactSet.

But if the inflation data shows shows further signs of improvement, it could help give policymakers the confidence to dial back their benchmark rate within a few months.

How will the Fed's decision impact mortgages and other loans?

If the Fed leaves rates unchanged, consumers are likely to continue paying more for mortgages, auto loans and credit card debt.

Mortgage rates aren't directly set by the Fed, but its benchmark rate influences them. Without a rate cut on the horizon, mortgage rates could hover around 7% for a while, although that could fluctuate based on other economic factors, noted LendingTree senior economist Jacob Channel.

"It is becoming clearer and clearer that the Fed isn't going to lower interest rates anytime soon," noted Matt Schulz, LendingTree credit analyst, in an email. "It might hurt those struggling with debt to hear that, but that's likely the unfortunate reality for the next several months."

Consumers with credit card debt should focus on paying off their balances or looking at options such as balance-transfer cards, he noted.

If there's a bright spot for consumers, it's that high-interest rate savings accounts, certificates of deposit and other products continue to be available. Even so, some banks have lowered their rates slightly in expectation that the Fed will cut rates at some point this year, noted Ken Tumin, banking expert at

—With reporting by the Associated Press.

  • Inflation
  • Federal Reserve

Aimee Picchi

Aimee Picchi is the associate managing editor for CBS MoneyWatch, where she covers business and personal finance. She previously worked at Bloomberg News and has written for national news outlets including USA Today and Consumer Reports.

The Federal Reserve is about to make another interest rate decision. What are the odds of a cut? (2024)


How many times will the Fed cut rates in 2024? ›

Interest rates have held steady since July 2023.

Inflation has receded, but the Fed has signaled it wants more positive data before pulling the trigger. In March 2024, the central bank predicted three quarter-point cuts by the end of the year. As time goes on, however, that has become less of a certainty.

Is the Federal Reserve going to cut interest rates? ›

Federal Reserve now expects to cut interest rates just once in 2024 amid sticky inflation. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday left its benchmark interest rate unchanged and penciled in only one rate cut in 2024 as policymakers await more evidence that U.S. inflation is cooling in earnest.

What is the chance of the Fed raising interest rates? ›

On the other hand, most economists don't expect the Fed to increase rates given that inflation has steadily receded from its recent peak of 9.1% in June 2022.

What percentage is the Fed interest rate decision? ›

In support of its goals, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 5-1/4 to 5-1/2 percent. In considering any adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will carefully assess incoming data, the evolving outlook, and the balance of risks.

What will the Fed interest rates be in 2025? ›

By the end of 2025, policymakers anticipate a policy rate of 4.1%, according to the median of their projections, implying an additional four quarter-of-a-percentage-point cuts next year.

What is the interest rate forecast for the next 5 years? ›

The median projection for the benchmark federal funds rate is 5.1% by the end of 2024, implying just over one quarter-point cut. Through 2025, the FOMC now expects five total cuts, down from six in March, which would leave the federal funds rate at 4.1% by the end of next year.

What is the date of the next Fed meeting in 2024? ›

Most Recent Fed Meeting (June 11-12, 2024)

Experts expect the Fed to continue to hold rates steady through the beginning of the year before making cuts, barring any sudden macroeconomic events.

What interest rate will be in 2024? ›

While McBride had initially expected mortgage rates to fall to 5.75 percent by late 2024, the economic reality means they're likely to hover in the range of 6.25 percent to 6.4 percent by the end of the year.

What is the Fed interest rate today? ›

Right now, the Fed interest rate is 5.25% to 5.50%. The FOMC established that rate in late July 2023. At its most recent meeting in June, the committee decided to leave the rate unchanged.

Will CD rates go up in 2024? ›

Projections suggest that we may see no rate increases in 2024, and that the Fed might start dropping its rate later this year, according to the CME FedWatch Tool on June 11. If the Fed rate drops, CD rates will likely follow suit, though it's up to each bank and credit union if and when that occurs.

What happens to the stock market when the Fed raises interest rates? ›

A higher interest rate environment can present challenges for the economy, which may slow business activity. This could potentially result in lower revenues and earnings for a corporation, which could be reflected in a lower stock price.

What is the current prime rate today? ›

What Is the Current Prime Rate? As of May 20, 2024, the current prime rate is 8.50%, according to The Wall Street Journal's Money Rates table. This source aggregates the most common prime rates charged throughout the U.S. and in other countries. The federal funds rate is currently 5.25% to 5.50%.

What is the interest rate expectation for 2024? ›

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is expected to fall to the mid-6% range through the end of 2024, potentially dipping into high-5% territory by the end of 2025. However, recent economic developments have led some forecasters to believe that rates will remain elevated at around 7% for the remainder of this year.

Will mortgage rates go down in 2025? ›

Experts from Fannie Mae and the MBA predict a gradual decrease by the end of 2025. Forecasts indicate that 30-year mortgage rates, currently around 7.1%, might drop to 6.6% by the end of 2024, and further down to 5.9% by the end of 2025.

Will auto interest rates go down in 2024? ›

Auto loan rates for new and used vehicle purchases fell in the first quarter of 2024 to 6.73% and 11.91%, respectively, down slightly from the 15-year highs we saw at the end of 2023, according to Experian.

Will credit card interest rates go down in 2024? ›

While the Fed maintained its target rate in the 5.25 percent to 5.50 percent range at its June 2024 meeting, the central bank hasn't yet declared victory in its fight against inflation. However, it seems the Fed is done raising its target rate in this cycle and forecasts one rate reduction later in 2024.


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