Business & Economy

On The Money — Bracing for another Fed rate hike

The Fed has another major interest rate hike in the works, but that could mark the peak of its increases. We’ll also look at President Biden taking aim at oil companies and the Supreme Court shielding former President Trump’s tax records from the House. 

🗳️ But first, catch up on the five races that will decide control of the Senate. 

Welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. For The Hill, we’re Sylvan LaneAris Folley and Karl Evers-Hillstrom.

Why the Fed’s next big rate hike may be its last

The Federal Reserve is on track to issue another massive rate hike Wednesday before slowing down the pace of its battle to fight inflation. 

  • Analysts and economists are confident the Fed will hike its baseline interest rate range by another 0.75 percentage points at the end of a Wednesday meeting.  
  • The Fed’s move will mark the fourth consecutive rate hike of a size it once considered “unusually large.” 

It may also mark a turning point as the Fed faces growing pressure to take its foot off the brakes of the economy. 

  • Fed Chair Jerome Powell is not expected to announce a pause to rate hikes or the bank’s intentions for its final policy meeting in December.  
  • But Fedwatchers will be paying close attention for signs that Fed officials believe they may be close to the level they plan to set interest rates for the foreseeable future. 

“We see enough straws in the wind now to think that the economy is at a real inflexion point,” wrote Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, in a Monday research note. 

Sylvan explains here


Biden seizes on high oil profits ahead of the midterms 

The Biden administration is seizing on huge earnings calls from oil companies as it seeks to give voters a response to relatively high gasoline prices ahead of next week’s midterms.   

President Biden has repeatedly sought to place blame on the industry for the high prices, but has ramped up its rhetoric in the wake of massive earnings, threatening oil giants with a windfall tax on “excess profits.”  

  • In total, seven of the largest oil and gas companies combined raked in nearly $70 billion in third-quarter profits, according to recent earnings reports. 
  • BP on Tuesday reported $8.2 billion in quarterly profits after ExxonMobil last week reported a record $19.7 billion haul.  
  • Those firms also announced multi-billion dollar stock buybacks, further enraging the White House. 

“So far, American oil companies are using that windfall — the windfall of profits — to buy back their own stock, passing that money on to their shareholders, not to consumers,” Biden said.   

Karl and Rachel Frazin have more here.


Chief Justice Roberts temporarily shields Trump tax records from House 

The Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily halted a House panel from accessing the tax records of former President Trump ahead of their expected release. 

The move, which comes in response to an emergency request Trump filed on Monday, was ordered by Chief Justice John Roberts, who handles emergency matters arising in the District of Columbia. Roberts requested a response by Nov. 10. 

  • The latest development comes after a lower court cleared the way for the House Ways and Means Committee to obtain the records of Trump and his businesses from the Treasury Department as part of a long-running legal battle. 
  • Federal law mandates that tax returns are generally confidential unless an exception applies, one of which includes a written request by the House Ways and Means Committee. The issue in Trump’s litigation in large part turns on whether this exception is constitutional. 

The Hill’s John Kruzel takes it away here


Job openings bounce back in September after August dip

U.S. job openings rebounded in September after plunging in August, according to federal data released Tuesday, despite pressure from high inflation and interest rates. 

  • American businesses posted 10.7 million open jobs by the final day of September, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) report, up from 10.1 million in August. 
  • While hires fell from 6.3 million in August to 6.1 million in September, businesses also laid off fewer workers. 

“After the shock of last month’s report, the September JOLTS data is returning to a familiar story: demand for workers remains robust. By all the key metrics in this report, the labor market is resilient,” wrote Nick Bunker, head of economic research at Indeed Hiring Lab, in a Tuesday analysis. 

Sylvan breaks it down here

Good to Know

U.S. manufacturing activity fell for the fourth month in a row while prices paid to manufacturers also decreased to the lowest level in more than two years. 

The Institute for Supply Management’s October purchasing managers’ index came in at 50.2 percent, 0.7 percentage points lower than September and the lowest level since May 2020. The number indicates the manufacturing sector is nearly running flat. 

Other items we’re keeping an eye on: 

  • Close to a dozen Democratic lawmakers called on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to explain how many Americans will lose their jobs as a result of their efforts to mitigate high inflation. 
  • Elon Musk teased a plan Tuesday to charge $8 per month for Twitter’s subscription service and let users become verified with the platform’s blue checkmark as part of the deal. 
  • One of the five commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is calling on Congress to ban TikTok over concerns that user data could end up in the hands of China’s government. 
  • Following the attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) husband Paul Pelosi, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said that more resources are necessary to provide security for lawmakers due to the contentious political climate. 

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow. 

Tags Fed interest rate hikes Jerome Powell Jobs John Roberts Justice Roberts President Biden Trump

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