Wall Street economists are more inclined than traders to see the Fed raising interest rates twice this year, though they’re less certain on the timing of the first increase.

The benchmark federal-funds rate target’s upper bound will reach 1 percent by year-end, representing two quarter-point hikes, according to the median estimate of 43 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News this week. However, they lacked conviction about which meeting the next increase would occur: Respondents gave a 6 percent average probability for the June meeting, 30 percent for July and 28 percent for September.

While that contrasts with futures traders who see one increase this year as more likely, the tension between the outlook for rates and the precise timing of a hike shows the difficulties of forecasting the Fed policy path amid choppy reports on the U.S. economy and central bank communication that’s shifted with recent numbers.  Read More….