Closely followed trader Art Cashin warned on Thursday that the current Federal Reserve leadership will likely not be around next year and he doesn’t think the central bank will implement three interest rate hikes in 2018.
On Wednesday, the Fed announced it will begin to roll off its $4.5 trillion balance sheet next month, but decided to hold interest rates steady.
The so-called dot plot, which provides the forecast of each policy panel member for the federal funds rate, projects one more rate hike this year and a total of three next year. The CME FedWatch tool on Thursday morning put the chances of a rate increase in December at about 70 percent.
“They’re getting close to perfect. The Fed traditionally doesn’t hike unless there is a 70 percent probability and we’re getting awfully close to that,” said Cashin, UBS director of floor operations at the New York Stock Exchange.
“For a year I’ve said I still have suspicions about December and I don’t see any way they’re doing three hikes next year. We’ve got to remember that we’re going to have a bit of a different Fed when it comes to implementing this,” he added in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”
President Donald Trump has a chance to reshape the Fed. Janet Yellen‘s term as Fed chair ends in February. And, earlier this month Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said he would step down in mid-October for personal reasons, adding another vacancy.
Some speculated that Trump’s top economic advisor, Gary Cohn, would assume the role as Fed chair. Cohn’s chance reportedly fell after he criticized the president for his comments on a violent white nationalist rally Charlottesville, Virginia, last month.
“It’s nice to know what the current Fed is thinking but they may not be around to make those decisions,” Cashin said.
“There’s an awful lot of variables out there,” he added.
Regarding the market, Cashin said there is still hope that some of Trump’s business-friendly proposals will make it through. “That we may see a tax cut, we may see some other things that may move the economy along,” Cashin said.
“Stocks are going to keep living on whether they can get something done in Washington,” he said.
Cashin said the recent slew of hurricanes may not be fully priced into the market, citing misfortunes such as Puerto Rico being completely without power after Hurricane Maria hit.
Lastly, he says to keep an eye on the U.S. dollar. “The dollar starts to strengthen appreciably. Will that affect the multinationals? What’s going to happen to earnings?” Cashin said.
Art Cashin: The Fed projects 3 rate hikes for 2018, but Trump could change that