Markets

Citi sees case for Fed to lower rates by 50 bps in July

NEW YORK: Citi economists said on Friday if the Federal Reserve decides to lower US interest rates next month, it would do so with a bold 50 basis-points cut, together with an earlier end of its balance sheet reduction.

They said they maintain a base case the US central bank would not lower borrowing costs at all in 2019, however, if economic data remains "sufficiently strong" and "a not unfavorable outcome" on trade between China and the United States emerges from next week's G20 summit in Japan.

A couple of other primary dealers, or the top 24 Wall Street firms that do business directly with the Federal Reserve, said they had a strong conviction about a 50 basis-point rate decrease at the Fed's next policy meeting in about six weeks.

UBS economists changed their base case to a half-point rate cut next month after this week's policy meeting.

Barclays economists have been forecasting a 50 basis-point cut in July following data earlier this month that showed weaker-than-expected jobs growth in the services sector in May.

On Wednesday, the US central bank said it was prepared to lower borrowing costs as early as July on signs of softening business activity due to trade tensions and persistently sluggish inflation.

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