RICHMOND, Virginia (Reuters) – One of the Federal Reserve’s most hawkish officials confronted one of the institution’s most dovish policymakers on Tuesday in a rare joint public debate over the risks posed to inflation by the U.S. central bank’s bold steps to spur growth.
Policy dove Charles Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and anti-inflation hawk Jeffrey Lacker, chief of the Richmond Fed, sparred pointedly and respectfully disagreed.
Spring is in the air and U.S. growth is getting unexpected support from the nation’s doughty consumers.
Despite higher taxes, households are lifting spending, begging the question of how much momentum will carry into the second quarter and what it means for Fed bond purchases.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Economic growth in China faces mounting headwinds and could fade dramatically in the years ahead due to declining productivity and an aging population, according to a U.S. Federal Reserve study.
Trend growth could slow gradually to around 6.5 percent by 2030, or it could break much more sharply to a pace under 1 percent if forces undermining economic activity combine in a “worst-case scenario,” according to the study, which was published online on Monday. Over the past decade, China’s economy grew on average around 10 percent a year.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday slapped financial sanctions on a Greek businessman for secretly operating a shipping network on behalf of the Iranian government to get around international sanctions on the country’s sale of oil.
“Today, we are lifting the veil on an intricate Iranian scheme that was designed to evade international oil sanctions,” U.S. Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence David Cohen said in a statement.
WASHINGTON, March 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve may
consider holding mortgage-backed securities, or MBS, longer on
its balance sheet to minimize market disruption instead of
selling them as it exits easy monetary policy in the future, a
top Fed official said on Friday.
Fed Governor Elizabeth Duke also said the broad recovery in
U.S. housing was likely to strengthen as an improving economy
unleashed pent-up demand, but she warned that tight credit
conditions could be a drag on the upswing.
WASHINGTON, March 7 (Reuters) – U.S. household debt grew at
its fastest pace since early 2008 in the fourth quarter of last
year, a possible sign that the painful process of paring back
borrowing in the aftermath of the financial crisis may have run
Household debt rose at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the
fourth quarter, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday in its
quarterly Flow of Funds report. It was the steepest gain since
the first quarter of 2008 and only the third quarter since then
in which debt levels rose.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Economic growth continued to improve gradually in January and early February as consumer spending picked up and the country’s battered housing market maintained a broad-based recovery, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.
In a cautiously optimistic report from its 12 regional branches, the U.S. central bank also drew attention to stronger demand in the auto sector and for technology and logistics services, while emphasizing that price pressures remained muted.
WASHINGTON, March 5 (Reuters) – It wasn’t a fair fight. A
Republican-controlled committee of the U.S. House of
Representatives pitted three outspoken critics of the Federal
Reserve against a lonesome dove, who tried his best to defend
the central bank against charges it was ruining the country.
Entitled “Near-zero rates, near zero effect? Is
unconventional monetary policy really working?”, the hearing on
Tuesday before the subcommittee on monetary policy sought to
explore the risks of ultra-bold Fed actions to spur U.S. growth.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke strongly defended the U.S. central bank’s monetary stimulus before Congress on Tuesday, easing financial market worries over a possible early retreat from bond purchases.
Bernanke said Fed policymakers are cognizant of potential risks from their extraordinary support for the economy, including the possibility that it might fuel unwanted inflation or stoke asset bubbles.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke may be keeping quiet about his future plans, but he sure doesn’t sound like someone planning to seek Senate support for a third term at the helm of the U.S. central bank.
In unapologetic and sometimes testy exchanges before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, the Fed chief defended his record and dismissed one Senate critic in unusually blunt terms.