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Apollo Global chief economist expects no Fed cuts this year

FILE PHOTO: An eagle tops the U.S. Federal Reserve building's facade in Washington

By Davide Barbuscia

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve is unlikely to cut interest rates this year as easier financial conditions will offset the impact of borrowing costs by keeping inflation sticky and the economy resilient, the chief economist of Apollo Global Management said.

The U.S. central bank in December signaled an end to the historic tightening of U.S. monetary policy of the prior two years and that lower borrowing costs were coming, triggering a rebound in capital markets activity that boosted the economy and inflation.

"We do believe that easier financial conditions will continue to offset the effects of rate hikes at least for the next several quarters," Torsten Slok told a webinar on Thursday. "The scale is tilted towards the tailwind to growth now coming again from fiscal policy, easy financial conditions still being stronger."

Apollo is a global alternative asset manager with $671 billion in assets under management as of March.

Since the signalling in December, Fed officials have modified their projections on how aggressively they would cut rates this year, from three 25 basis point rate cuts to just one. As of Thursday, traders were betting on about two 25 basis point cuts this year, after data showing a slowdown in the economy and in price pressures in recent weeks.

Still, Slok said time was needed for high interest rates to cool the economy and inflation, as higher borrowing costs have yet to hit many U.S. consumers and companies who are instead benefiting from a booming stock market and higher returns in fixed income.

"We just did not see the transmission of monetary policy come through as quickly as many, including the Fed ... expected in 2023," he said.

"There are certainly good reasons to expect inflation to come down ... we are just not quite there yet, inflation is unfortunately still too elevated."

(Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; editing by Barbara Lewis)