Fed Sees Just One Rate Cut This Year; Bitcoin Gives Up Session Gains

The central bank took note of "modest" progress towards returning to 2% inflation.

AccessTimeIconJun 12, 2024 at 6:14 p.m. UTC
Updated Jun 13, 2024 at 7:10 p.m. UTC
  • The Fed held policy steady, but now expects just one rate cut this year versus a projection of three rate cuts previously.
  • Bitcoin gave up big early session gains following the Fed's hawkish turn.

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee of the U.S. Federal Reserve Wednesday held its benchmark fed funds rate range at 5.25%-5.50%, but its economic outlook now calls for just one 25 basis point rate cut this year.

"In recent months, there has been modest further progress toward the Committee's 2 percent inflation objective," said the FOMC in its policy statement. The "modest" wording is notable because the previous policy statement complained of a "lack of progress" towards lower inflation.

Updating its economic projections, the Fed's median expectation for the fed funds rate at year-end 2024 is now 5.1% versus 4.6% three months ago. This means the central bank is now anticipating just one 25 basis point rate cut this year versus 75 previously. The 2025 year-end fed funds expectation is now 4.1%, suggesting 100 basis points in rate cuts next year.

At his post-meeting press conference, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said inflation remains too high and the central bank's focus remains on returning that gauge to its 2% target.

Earlier today, the U.S. Consumer Price Index report for May showed an unexpected slowdown in inflation last month. The news sent crypto, stock and bond markets sharply higher as traders ratcheted upward their expectations for the commencement of Fed rate cuts.

The hawkish turn in the Fed economic projections, later confirmed by Powell in his press conference, has taken the steam out of those rallies. Bitcoin (BTC) at 19:00 UTC had returned back to $67,300, flat over the past 24 hours. U.S. stocks and bonds closed the day with gains, but well off session highs.

Update (19:15 UTC, 6/12/24): Adds comment from Powell press conference and price reaction.


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Stephen  Alpher

Stephen Alpher is CoinDesk's managing editor for Markets. He holds BTC above CoinDesk’s disclosure threshold of $1,000.