Economic Update May 2023: Addressing Inflation, Interest Rates, and the Debt Ceiling

economic update

Read Time: 3 MIN

As we approach the summer of 2023, significant economic factors are shaping the investment landscape. Among them, inflation, interest rates, and the U.S. debt ceiling have been prominent topics of discussion. Shawn Lawson, Chief Client Solutions Officer at Executive Wealth Management, recently sat down with Nathan Larsen, the firm’s Chief Investment Officer, to discuss these crucial issues and what they mean for investors.

Inflation & Interest Rates
The conversation began with a focus on inflation, which has been a recurring topic in recent months. Inflation peaked in June 2022 at 8.9% but has since slowed down, with the most recent reading under 5% year-over-year. This slowdown in inflation has given the Federal Reserve (Fed) some breathing space, possibly allowing it to pause or even lower rates.

Larsen pointed out that certain aspects of inflation, such as housing services (rent income and owners’ equivalent rent), have continued to rise, albeit at a slowing pace. However, other service-based components of inflation have begun to trend downwards. These dynamics, Larsen believes, could further ease the pressure on the Fed to hike interest rates.

The Impact on Fixed Income
The potential for a pause or a cut in interest rates could have significant implications for the fixed-income market. As Larsen highlighted, the expectation of rate cuts before the end of the year affects the reinvestment rate. Many investors have moved their money into cash, given its current attractive yield relative to intermediate-term government debt. However, if the Fed begins to cut rates, the yield on cash could decrease quickly, while the rest of the yield curve may stay put or move down slightly. This scenario could present a reinvestment risk for those holding cash, potentially making intermediate-term fixed-income investments more attractive.

The Debt Ceiling
Another topic of discussion was the U.S. debt ceiling. Although political uncertainties surrounding the debt ceiling can be concerning, Larsen emphasized that the focus should be on the potential impact on investment portfolios. He cited the 2011 debt ceiling crisis as an example, noting that while it was a major event at the time, its long-term impact on investments was relatively minor.

As we navigate the economic landscape in 2023, understanding these key issues is crucial. Maintaining a consistent investment strategy is essential despite uncertainties surrounding inflation, interest rates, and the debt ceiling. Executive Wealth Management encourages investors to stay the course and resist making drastic changes based on short-term headline risk. With careful planning and a robust investment strategy, investors can withstand these economic challenges and continue to progress toward their financial goals.


EWM does not offer tax or legal advice.Executive Wealth Management (EWM) is a Registered Investment Advisor with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Reference to registration does not imply any specific level of qualification or skill. Investment Advisor Representatives of EWM offer Investment Advice and Financial Planning Services to customers located within the United States. EWM does not offer tax or legal advice. Executive Wealth Management, EWM Tax Solutions, and EWM Legal Services are affiliated but separate companies.


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