Swonk is part of the Wall Street consensus, predicting the Fed will raise its short -term interest rate target by a quarter point on Wednesday. It would be the third rate hike since December, and its fourth since the 2008 financial crisis. The latest move would put rates just above one percent.
However, it could end up being the last hike for a while. Swonk predicted a September hike is likely off the table, voicing concern that Washington politics could rattle policy and sidetrack the economic recovery.
Despite pressure from the White House, top House Republicans haven’t committed to a no-strings-attached vote on raising the nation’s borrowing limit before Congress adjourns in August. This week, House Speaker Paul Ryan vowed only that lawmakers would raise the debt ceiling before the country actually hits it — an event that could plunge financial markets into turmoil and rattle the vast market for U.S. Treasurys, long considered one of the safest investments in the world.
“Many people are talking about another showdown over the debt ceiling. We’ve been down this road before. But we don’t seem to learn our lessons very well,” she said.
“The optimism guiding everything from tax reform, infrastructure spending, deregulation — that at least has all been moved out if not sidelined. It’s hard to think that all of this would be done by the August recess by Congress,” noted Swonk.
“I have a lot of clients, big multi-national clients, who have a lot of money on the sidelines,” she added. “They were ready to go in January and because of uncertainty related to fiscal policy, they are now sort of deer in the headlights and on hold. That is not what we want to see.”