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Bond Market Braces for Showdown With Traders Split Over Fed Path

  • Swaps pricing shows deep divide over size of next rate hike
  • Rate volatility has ebbed as worst-case scenario is downgraded
The Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C.

The Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C.

Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Bond investors hoping for a summer lull have a problem: Next week could ratchet up market volatility at a time when wagers on the Federal Reserve’s next decision are near-evenly split.

There’s a standoff resulting from conflicting US economic data: strength in hiring and wage growth on the one hand, and the first glimmer of moderation in inflation from generational highs on the other. As recently as Aug. 5, another three-quarter point rate increase was deemed likelier based on strong jobs data. This week, a smaller half-point move came back into favor after inflation decelerated.