Pimco's Ivascyn says December U.S. rate hike is 'not a done deal'

September 21, 2016 5:15 PM EDT

A Pacific Investment Management Co (PIMCO) sign is shown in Newport Beach, California August 4, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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By Jennifer Ablan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve might not hike rates at all this year, even though markets are betting on a December interest-rate increase, Dan Ivascyn, group chief investment officer at bond firm Pacific Investment Management Co, said Wednesday.

"December is not a done deal or near a slam dunk," Ivascyn said after the Fed's decision Wednesday to leave interest rates unchanged. "There's just too much uncertainty out there. The economic data is weakening a bit and no one knows what will happen with the U.S. presidential elections."

The Fed signaled on Wednesday that it will likely raise rates before year's end. It said in a statement that the U.S. job market has continued to strengthen and economic activity has picked up. But it noted that business investment remains soft and inflation too low and that it wants to see further improvement in the job market.

Ivascyn said Pacific Investment Management Co, or Pimco, has been adding emerging market debt "on the margin" but overall is "pretty defensive" on interest-rate risk.

"We have been doing some minor fine-tuning - nothing major at the moment," Ivascyn said about Pimco's investment strategy.

Pimco, a unit of German insurer Allianz SE, is headquartered in Newport Beach Calif with more than $1.5 trillion in assets under management.

(Reporting By Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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