The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
The Federal Reserve increasingly looks stuck on the horns of a not-so-bullish dilemma: should it pay attention to global developments in financial markets, which argue for pause, or should it focus squarely on U.S. economic data, which suggest the time is nigh to hike?
The U.S. Federal Reserve may find it even more tough to raise interest rates as the year wears on if dwindling expectations for growth are any guide.
from Hugo Dixon:
How should the world outside America view Ben Bernanke’s legacy? Should it lambast the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman, who retires later this week after an eight-year stint, for failing to predict the financial crisis and being slow to react when it hit? Or should it laud him for pulling out the stops to save the financial system and pep up the U.S. economy after Lehman Brothers went bust in 2008? Or should non-Americans be worried that the process of unwinding Bernanke’s unprecedented money-printing policy will deliver a bad case of whiplash?
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew moves on to Berlin then Lisbon after spending yesterday in Paris. There, he urged Europe to do more to build up its bank backstops and capital, a fairly clear indication that Washington is underwhelmed by the German model of banking union which has prevailed.
The U.S. government shutdown probably won't hit the economy too hard, say economists. Some point to the fact the shutdown has come right at the start of the fourth quarter, meaning there's time before the year's out for the economy to recoup some of lost output resulting from the downtime. But, the longer it goes on, the worse it will be.
Based on the latest U.S. Treasury flows data, it may be time to ditch the textbook theory that says less monetary stimulus means a stronger currency - at least for now.