In the thrilling arena of economic prophecies, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the financial gladiators, step into the spotlight with diverging yet captivating visions of the Federal Reserve’s roadmap. The focal point: interest-rate cuts. Morgan Stanley, the bold virtuoso, envisions a symphony of reductions over the next two years, riding the wave of cooling inflation. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs, the measured maestro, orchestrates a more tempered narrative—predicting fewer cuts and a delayed kick-off.
Morgan Stanley’s Audacious Overture:
Chief US Economist Ellen Zentner leads Morgan Stanley’s ensemble in a bold prediction: interest-rate cuts hitting the stage in June 2024. The crescendo continues with additional cuts in September and every meeting from the fourth quarter onward, each in 25-basis point increments. This symphonic strategy aims to gracefully guide the policy rate down to 2.375% by the end of 2025.
Goldman Sachs’ Unconventional Harmony:
On the flip side, Goldman Sachs, represented by economist David Mericle, plays a distinct tune. Their forecast envisions the first 25-basis-point reduction in the fourth quarter of 2024, followed by a rhythmic cadence of one cut per quarter through mid-2026, totaling 175 basis points. The rates are poised to settle in a comfortable 3.5%-3.75% target range. This unconventional harmony aligns elegantly with the Fed’s projections from September, stirring a subtle controversy in the economic orchestra.
Navigating the Economic Symphony:
Morgan Stanley’s daring notes derive from their vision of a resilient economy. While avoiding a recession, they advocate for significant easing, projecting a peak unemployment rate of 4.3% in 2025, surpassing the Fed’s estimate of 4.1%. Slower growth and inflation, contrary to initial expectations, set the stage for a symphony of nuanced optimism.
Comparing 2025 Forecasts:
Here’s a snapshot of Morgan Stanley’s and Goldman Sachs’ 2025 forecasts, confronting the median estimates from Fed officials in September:
Morgan Stanley: 2.375% by the end of 2025
Goldman Sachs: 3.5%-3.75% target range by mid-2026
Fed Officials (September Median): 3.9% by the end of 2025
Morgan Stanley’s team emphasizes the positive dissonance of this harmonious divergence. They suggest that high rates, far from overshadowing fiscal impulses, will propel growth. This spirited optimism persists as they maintain confidence in the Fed achieving a soft landing, even amid the backdrop of potential weakening growth.
Goldman Sachs, embracing a controversial perspective, expects the Fed to sustain relatively higher rates due to a higher equilibrium rate. Their forecast represents a nuanced compromise, mirroring the lively debates within the Fed on the best path forward.
As the financial world eagerly awaits the unfolding economic saga, the dueling crescendos of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley add an electrifying layer of intrigue to the symphony of rate-cut forecasts. Investors and spectators alike find themselves caught in a whirlwind of controversy and anticipation, as these financial maestros navigate the delicate dance of economic melodies. The future promises not just discord but also the potential for a harmonious resolution, unveiling the resilience and dynamism of the economic orchestra.
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