If the Fed wanted to stop inflation, it would need to hike rates to nearly 6%: expert

·3 min read

Interactive Brokers founder Thomas Peterffy says he is worried about the higher interest rates coming soon from a Federal Reserve behind the curve on inflation.

"I am worried about high interest rates because the Fed is talking about raising rates to 1% or even 2%. Inflation is 7% — 1% or 2% doesn't mean anything. If they really wanted to stop inflation, they would have to raise rates to 4%, 5%, 6%," Peterffy said on Yahoo Finance Live.

Peterffy thinks the Fed wouldn't go that high on rates (yet) as it would add new deficit spending as servicing costs on the country's ballooning debt would rise. More money would then likely circulate into the economy, and put more upward pressure on inflation, Peterffy reasons.

"I think they [the Fed] are in a box. They can't raise rates much above 1% or 2%, and inflation can stay up there for a long time and people will get used to that and it will become endemic. So that is the reason for my fears," added Peterffy.

To be sure, the inflation fighting credentials are about to be put to the test.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' December CPI reading showed prices rose at a 7.0% year-over-year clip at the end of 2021, marking the fastest increase since 1982. Gains reflected strong increases in the prices of shelter and used vehicles, among other items. The headline increase matched economist estimates, and accelerated from November's already elevated 6.8% increase.

Within the report, the food at home index rose 6.5% over the last 12 months, compared to a 1.5% annual increase during the last 10 years.

Market experts believe the continued inflationary environment will trigger the start of an interest rate hiking cycle in March. Peterffy may not be too off the mark with where rates are likely to head by 2023.

"Our economists expect the Fed will begin its hiking cycle at the March meeting and hike a total of four times in 2022. They expect an additional three hikes in 2023 and three hikes in 2024. The market is currently pricing a similar pace of tightening in 2022 but expects fewer total hikes this cycle," said Goldman Sachs strategist Ben Snider in a recent research note.

Meanwhile, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon floated the idea last week of seven interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve this year.

Stock and bond markets are beginning to price in those rate hikes, too.

The tech heavy Nasdaq Composite fell into correction territory on Wednesday, defined as a 10% drop from a high. High multiple tech stocks such as Apple, Microsoft and Salesforce tend to have tougher times as interest rates rise, argues pros. The 10-year Treasury yield has climbed about 45 basis points since early August, according to Yahoo Finance Plus data.

"I definitely think we will experience more volatility in 2022 than what we have seen certainly over the last year," said Pimco portfolio manager Erin Browne on Yahoo Finance Live.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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