EXCLUSIVE: Why Jeremy Siegel Says Fed Could Lower Interest Rates In 2023, Powell Is 'Off Target'

Zinger Key Points
  • Jeremy Siegel, finance professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, joins Benzinga's PreMarket Prep show Thursday.
  • While Siegel says Jerome Powell is off target on "a lot of things," he adds the Fed is slowly starting to "get it."

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve stepped up its campaign against inflation by raising its key interest rate a quarter point, its eighth hike since March. The Fed signaled that even though inflation is easing, it remains high enough to require further rate hikes.

While acknowledging the rate of inflation has slowed, Chairman Jerome Powell's words on Wednesday sounded slightly dovish, suggesting the Fed's interest rate campaign may be drawing to a close. 

Jeremy Siegel, professor of finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, told Benzinga's PreMarket Prep show Thursday the “Federal Reserve is finally, and slowly, beginning to get it.”

Siegel Says Fed Hikes Hurt Workers: The economist criticized the Fed’s stance on monetary policy and its impact on the economy, saying Powell's approach to more potential rate hikes is uncertain and may not be enough to prevent a recession.

“[Powell] is off target on a lot of things,” Siegel said.

“He admits himself that monetary policy works with a lag and a lot of the effect of the tightness is yet to be felt.”

On Wednesday, Powell stressed that it is too soon to declare victory over inflation, and said the Fed will use incoming data to determine future rate hikes.

“When [Powell] finally sees the economy has turned down, that is too late to prevent a reccession,” Siegel said, speaking with PreMarket Prep's Joel Elconin, Dennis Dick and Mitch Hoch and fellow guest Jeremy Schwartz, CIO at WisdomTree.

The Wharton professor said the Fed's focus on controlling inflation is harmful to workers, who have fallen behind inflation in recent years and need to catch up through wage increases.

The recent structural shift in the labor supply requires wage increases to clear the market, Siegel said, adding that it's a process the Fed is not designed to mitigate, and should not try to prevent.

'We Are Going To See A Decline In The Rates': During Wednesday’s Q&A session with the Fed — which some investors are calling "Powell’s rally" — Powell delivered somewhat dovish remarks, using the word “disinflation” several times, rocketing the markets to the upside into the close of the regular session.

The markets reacted negatively to Powell's initial statement, but improved when he shifted his focus away from financial stability and on to controlling inflation, Siegel said.

Powell emphasized that keeping inflation low was his primary concern, and the markets took that message positively.

Powell indicated that inflation is going in the right direction, which contributed to the continued market rally, Siegel said. 

“These ideas are slowly seeping into the Fed,” Siegel said, “and it is one reason I think in the second half of this year, we are going to see a decline in the rates.”
Watch the full interview below.

Photo courtesy of the Federal Reserve. 

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Posted In: NewsTop StoriesEconomicsFederal ReserveExclusivesMarketsInterviewInflationInterest RatesJerome PowellPreMarket PrepProfessor Jeremy Siegel
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