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Why Fed wants to keep us guessing: Ex-Fed official

Matthew J. Belvedere
Why Fed wants to keep us guessing: Ex-Fed official

Investors should not be too quick to write off an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve in December, despite market expectations increasingly looking to early next year as more likely, the former executive vice president at the New York Fed said Monday.

Most market watchers and economists don't expect any rate move when the Fed concludes its two-day meeting on Wednesday. But going into this week's gathering, the central bank wants to keep December alive, Krishna Guha told CNBC's " Squawk Box ."

"In my view, the leadership is still hedging its bets, reserving judgment, waiting to see what those next two employment reports have to say," he said, warning that this week's policy statement could tilt a "little bit more in the direction of being slightly more hawkish."

The government's October employment report is released Nov. 6, and the November data are out Dec. 4, less than two weeks before the final Fed policy meeting of the year.

"They're goal going in is not to double-down on the idea that for sure they're committed to hiking in December," said Guha, currently vice chairman of research firm ISI Group. "But to make sure they have all options open, and people don't conclude already that December is written off."

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Anastasia Amoroso, global market strategist for JPMorgan Funds, also still sees a December Fed rate hike as possibility.

But she said in a separate "Squawk Box" interview: "A lot of things need to line up between now and December. It's not just the economic data;. It's a lot of market data, too."

Amoroso said the reasons behind the Fed's somewhat unexpected decision last month not to hike rates for the first time in nine years were the slowing global economy sparked by China and the subsequent market meltdown.

The Fed has two mandates, fostering maximum employment and minding inflation.

The labor part of the equation has seen a lot more improvement than the inflation side, as price pressures remain stubbornly below the 2-percent target central bank policymakers would like to see before considering a rate move.

A day after the Fed's policy statement on Wednesday, the government releases its first look at third-quarter economic growth. Forecasts for gross domestic product call for an increase of 1.4 percent, after the 3.9 percent rise in the second quarter.

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