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The Federal Reserve is Faced with a Complex Challenge to Keep Markets Stable

Stock market traders are showing little concern about the recent decline in inflation. Fueled by the potential of artificial intelligence, they have been driving up the prices of major tech companies such as Nvidia, Apple, Meta (Facebook), Alphabet (Google), Tesla, and Microsoft. As mentioned before, cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line are experiencing a surge in demand as consumers eagerly seek seaborne travel.

For now, the market seems to have no limits.

However, there are reasons to worry.

The decline in inflation is not just an academic matter. If the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes have not yet had a significant impact on the overall economy, it may be due to their “long and variable lags.” These effects could still materialize, even if inflation is declining for other reasons.

Nevertheless, we are already seeing some negative consequences. High credit card rates are causing consumer distress. Bond losses resulting from rising rates are weakening regional banks. Expensive mortgages are affecting the housing and commercial real estate markets, while the shift to working from home has reduced office occupancy. How long this will persist is uncertain.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist of Pantheon Macroeconomics, warned that rapid and significant interest rate increases typically lead to recessions. Additionally, distressed regional banks have tightened credit for small businesses, exacerbating the economic challenges. While Shepherdson does not predict a formal recession, he expects slower growth.

Although a majority of Wall Street experts still anticipate a recession within the next 12 months, recent data suggesting continued economic growth has caused many economists to lower the odds of a recession occurring. Furthermore, if a recession does happen, it is expected to be mild.

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