The Great Debate UK

Issues in monetary normalisation

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john_kemp– John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

Investors like simple narratives, which is why markets swing erratically and illogically between extremes of hope and fear. Reality is more complex. As F. Scott Fitzgerald remarked “the true test of a first-rate mind is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time”.

The bond market is currently struggling to reconcile contradictory fears about inflation and recession, not always successfully.

The medium-term outlook for the U.S. economy is dominated by the risk of inflation as massive injections of liquidity eventually fuel a rebound in economic activity accompanied by widespread price increases, starting with oil and other commodities and spreading to the rest of the manufacturing system. In effect, this would be a destabilising repetition of conditions that characterised the period between 2004 and 2008.

from The Great Debate:

Bonds swamped in fair weather or foul

James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Come good news or bad, the U.S. treasury market is taking a sell now and wait for inflation later strategy.

Since May 21, Treasuries have been battered, sending the yield on 10-year bonds up by nearly 40 basis points to 3.53 percent, an enormous move in bond market terms.

from The Great Debate:

Uncertain Fed support sinks bonds

John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

The bond market's adverse reaction after the Fed announced no new asset purchase facilities or bond buyback programs highlights the fundamental difference between interest rates and quantitative easing (QE).

Rate cuts provide ongoing support for an indefinite period until the Federal Open Market Committee chooses to reverse them. In contrast, QE programs provide a one-off, time-limited boost that has to be continually reapplied to have the same effect.

from The Great Debate:

Obama and flawed logic on Cuba

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate

-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

The U.S. case for isolating Cuba and keeping it out of international meetings such as this week's Summit of the Americas sounds simple: the country doesn't have democratically elected leaders, it holds political prisoners, it violates human rights and its citizens can't travel freely. All perfectly true.

from The Great Debate:

Fed sets out exit strategy

John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

Intense criticism of the Fed's role in the financial rescue program and the decision to triple its balance sheet, including monetizing a portion of the Treasury's debt, has forced the central bank to issue an unusual defense of its actions (http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/monetary/20090323b.htm).

It attempts to placate critics by acknowledging the real risk of inflation, and marks the Fed's first attempt to set out an "exit strategy" for ending quantitative easing and other credit programs once the crisis is safely passed.

from The Great Debate:

U.S. government borrowing runs into resistance

John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

Investors have started to balk at absorbing large quantities of U.S. government debt, taking on substantial inflation and devaluation risk in return for little reward. While the government has no trouble placing short-term debt with a maturity of up to 2 years, longer-dated securities are proving much harder to sell.

Increasing resistance from the market explains why the Federal Reserve felt it had no choice but to announce it would start buying back longer-term U.S. Treasury securities last week, in a $300 billion program of direct quantitative easing and monetization.

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