President Donald Trump’s expected decision on the next Federal Reserve chair is likely to impact the bond market, as some leading contenders are considered more hawkish or dovish than others when it comes to monetary policy.
Trump is expected to name his pick for Fed chair Thursday, and the PredictIt market on Tuesday evening showed current Federal Reserve governor Jerome “Jay” Powell was the leading contender, followed by Stanford economist John Taylor. The likelihood of current Fed chair Janet Yellen retaining her post has recently fallen, according to PredictIt.
Powell is seen as likely to conduct his policy much as Yellen has, said Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors.
“The expectation is that he will be similar to Janet Yellen, with being path-dependent on economic as well as financial stability. His expectation is that he will gradually raise interest rates, and as well gradually reduce the balance sheet,” Morganlander said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.”
“He is more of a deregulation person than, for example, Janet Yellen,” he said. “But nonetheless, the financial system, we believe, will have a sigh of relief if Powell will be appointed as chair.”
John Taylor, who coined the “Taylor rule,” a model that suggests a guideline as to how the Fed’s benchmark interest rate should shift according to the underlying economic conditions, is seen as a more hawkish candidate.
“With John Taylor, we believe that it will be more of a hawkish stance regarding the balance sheet management at the Fed. With $4.5 trillion, the expectation is that there will be a reduction in 2018, into 2019. John Taylor may be perceived as one that would reduce the balance sheet at a pace which would be much more rapid,” Morganlander said.
Regardless of who is selected, Morganlander is not expecting a “rapid increase” of interest rates in 2018.
“We do believe, though, when it comes to who gets appointed, the long end of the yield curve could respond quite differently,” he said. “For example, if Taylor gets in, we could actually see a steepening of the yield curve initially, followed potentially by a flattening.
“That volatility would be created by the uncertainty that rate hikes, as well as balance sheet reduction, would have on the overall financial system,” he said.