Cathie Wood calls for a significant Fed policy pivot in three to six months, says deflation looms

Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood doubled down on her call for deflation, predicting a big policy reversal from the Federal Reserve in three months at the earliest. “I would not be surprised to see a significant policy pivot in the next three to six months,” Wood said in a tweet Wednesday evening. “The Fed seems to responding to COVID-related supply shocks spanning 15 months the same way that Volcker battled inflation that had been brewing and building for 15 years….Powell is using Volcker’s sledgehammer and, I believe, making a mistake.” Wood compared Fed Chairman Jerome Powell to Paul Volcker, Fed chief under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, who helped tame inflation in the 1980s with 20% interest rates that also crunched the economy. The innovation-focused investor said the central bank is now basing monetary policy decisions on lagging indicators: employment and core inflation. She said a number of leading indicators are signaling inflation may have already peaked. She noted that gold, traditionally an inflation hedge, hit its high more than two years ago. Other commodities including lumber, copper, iron ore and oil have all dropped double digits from their high, Wood said. “In the pipeline, inflation is turning into deflation,” Wood said. “Leading inflation indicators like gold and copper are flagging the risk of deflation. Even the oil price has dropped more than 35% from its peak, erasing most of the gain this year.” Wood’s comments came even as Fed officials knocked the idea of a policy pivot in the near term. Powell on Thursday vowed again to raise rates to fight inflation “until the job is done.” The Fed has raised benchmark interest rates four times this year, with the fed funds rate now set in a range between 2.25%-2.50%. Markets widely expect the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee to enact a third consecutive 0.75 percentage point increase when it meets again Sept. 20-21. Wood’s disruptive technology darlings have been among the biggest losers this year in the face of rising rates. Her flagship active fund Ark Innovation ETF (ARKK) , off 56% year to date, just suffered three straight months of outflows. “Innovation solves problems, and the world is facing many more problems today than two years ago. Innovation is key to real growth!” Wood said.

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