June 10, 2015 / 2:58 AM / 2 years ago

DoubleLine's Gundlach sees odds of Fed hike by December under 50 percent

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jeffrey Gundlach, chief executive of investment firm DoubleLine Capital, said on Tuesday he still believes the U.S. Federal Reserve will probably not raise interest rates this year, in part because of a lack of wage inflation.

Jeffrey Gundlach, chief executive and chief investment officer of DoubleLine Capital, speaks during the Sohn Investment Conference in New York in this file photo from May 4, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files

Gundlach, reiterating his Federal Reserve call first made in early May, said on a client webcast that odds of a Fed rate increase in December are less than 50 percent and under 30 percent in September.

The odds of a September interest rate hike “weirdly” have risen, Gundlach said. “I would take the under on that ... I think the odds of raising rates by December is less than 50 percent,” he added.

Gundlach said he has been closely watching the year-on-year change in hourly earnings in non-farm payroll figures. If the year-on-year change exceeds 1.5 percent, Gundlach said he believes the chances for the Fed to raise rates increases.

“If you take out your magnifying glass, you might convince yourself that hourly earnings are actually rising,” Gundlach said, noting the figures haven’t risen meaningfully in the current economic cycle.

The debate on the timing of interest-rate hikes rages on.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley, speaking in the wake of the May jobs report, said on Friday that he continues to believe the U.S. central bank is on track to raise interest rates this year.

The government reported a robust rate of hiring, with payrolls expanding by 280,000 jobs. The jobless rate ticked up to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent in April, while wage gains picked up.

Dudley’s outlook on the economy and monetary policy is critical given that he serves as vice chairman of the monetary-policy-setting FOMC.

Last year, Gundlach correctly forecast that U.S. Treasury yields would fall, rather than rise as many expected, because inflationary pressures were nonexistent and technical factors such as aging demographics were at play.

Gundlach said on Tuesday that he still expects interest rates to end 2015 where they started, around the 2.20 percent to 2.25 percent range. On Tuesday, the 10-year Treasury was trading around 2.44 percent.

Reporting By Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Alan Crosby and Richard Pullin

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