Wells Fargo cuts rate hike forecast, bond yield targets

As bond yields fall on global growth fears, Wells Fargo is making some changes.

This month, the firm cut both its year-end Federal Reserve interest rate hike forecast and bond yield targets. However, the firm’s global head of interest rate strategy said the decision has little to do with an economic slowdown abroad.

“It boils down to the Fed,” Michael Schumacher said Thursday on CNBC’s “Futures Now.” “What does the Fed care about most? Does it care about European growth? Probably not a huge amount.”

Based on recent Fed commentary and Chairman Jerome Powell’s more dovish comments about the economy over the past few months, Schumacher said a readjustment of the firm’s expectations was necessary.

“It’s pretty difficult to call for the Fed to hike two or three times. We were at two. We debated quite a bit,” he said. “We can’t really allow for two. So, we’ll go with one rate hike for now for 2019.”

Schumacher, however, does not believe the move will create an ominous treasury yield inversion. When the 2-year and 10-year Treasury yield invert, it historically points to impending economic troubles.

“If there’s one more hike, would it cause the curve to invert? We doubt it,” he said. “The central banks have such massive portfolios. They’ve distorted those market rates. So even if the curve inverts, we think a recession is unlikely.”

He expected the sole hike of the year would come in the beginning of third quarter — which would likely be the last of the cycle. It’s in line with the results from CNBC’s latest Fed Survey which indicates the Wall Street is also predicting one rate hike.

Along with the Fed rate forecast change, Schumacher and his team lowered its year-end treasury yield targets.

The expectation is now for the 2-Year Treasury yield to end the year at 2.75% from 2.95% while the 10-Year Treasury yield dipped to 3.10 percent from 3.30 percent.

On Friday, they hit their lowest levels since February 1.

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