El-Erian Warns The Feds Delay Could Endanger The US Economy

Mohamed El-Erian, in an op-ed for the Financial Times, warns that the Federal Reserve's delay in cutting interest rates could endanger the US economy.

The renowned economist emphasizes that initiating the first rate cut sooner rather than later is essential to minimize the risk of a recession. However, the Fed's insistence on postponing this move increases the likelihood of needing a more aggressive cutting cycle in the future.

El-Erian cautions, "If the Fed is compelled into a large cutting cycle due to a delayed start and escalating economic and financial weaknesses, it would ultimately have to cut more than necessary based on long-term conditions."

This scenario echoes the Fed's policy error in 2021 when officials delayed raising rates amid surging post-pandemic inflation, mistakenly labeling it as "transitory." This led to sharp rate hikes later on, revealing financial vulnerabilities and challenging policies internationally.

Currently, Fed officials want to see more disinflationary data before reducing rates, arguing that premature cuts could reignite inflation and potentially lead to stagflation in a slowing economy.

El-Erian consistently critiques the Fed's heavy reliance on data, highlighting that the prolonged high-rate environment is exacerbating economic vulnerabilities. These include weakened balance sheets for consumers and small businesses and rising household debt.

Earlier this month, El-Erian argued that the Fed's plan to cut rates only once in December is too late and could unduly slow the economy. He estimates the recession risk at 35%.

"'Too late' is what was reflected in yesterday's SEP or dot plot," he remarked, referencing the Fed's Summary of Economic Projections. "By then, the delayed impact of significant rate increases would be even more pronounced."


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