As the year draws to a close, it’s time to start looking ahead to what 2015 might bring. To help, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Economic Advisory Roundtable released its forecast for next year.
The good news is that next year looks to be a continuation of the positive trends of 2014. The major economic indicators – inflation, unemployment, consumer spending and the price of oil – have all gone in positive directions this year.
“2015 could post the strongest economic growth in a decade,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist and managing director at Mesirow Financial Holdings and chairman of the SIFMA roundtable, in a release.
One negative has been the lack of growth in capital expenditures by businesses, Swonk said.
Besides the indicators, Republican control of Congress might make a difference in regulatory oversight of financial institutions. Slightly more than half of respondents to the roundtable’s survey (55 percent) said they expected that to be the case.
1. The economy
For this year, economic growth of 2.3 percent is forecast, with the figure rising to 3 percent next year. The GDP number for 2015 might not seem huge but the roundtable notes that would be largest economic growth in a decade. “Continued employment gains, firming wages and somewhat les restrictive policy” will all help, said Swonk. Still, the bar is low as the economy tries to raise itself clear of the recession.
2. Monetary policy
The Fed has kept the federal funds rate low for years and despite some loosening in policies, the roundtable expects the rate to be at 0.25 percent or lower through midyear. It also forecasts that the Federal Open Markets Committee will begin shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet by curtailing reinvestment of proceeds from asset holdings in the first quarter of 2016.