The euro zone recovery is over

September 22, 2011

“The recovery has finished, we are now contracting. The forward looking indicators suggest that things will deteriorate further in the coming months,” – Chris Williamson, chief economist at PMI compiler Markit.

Evans doctrine gains traction at Fed

September 13, 2011

Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans takes a question during a round table with the media in Shanghai March 23, 2010. REUTERS/Nir Elias

Once seen as an extreme, even imprudent notion in the corridors of respectable central banking, the idea that a little bit of inflation is needed to let some of the air out of a decades-long debt bubble is gaining ground in establishment economics. Even the U.S. Federal Reserve, a central bank that prides itself in offering a high degree of steady predictability on inflation, is now actively pondering taking more drastic steps, such as linking the path of interest rates to the direction of unemployment or inflation.

About those low rates … we really really mean it

August 10, 2011

The Fed this week took the unprecedented step of putting interest rates of virtual permahold for a set period of time — in this case, until the middle of 2013. That’s a long time away, and the promise underscores just how concerned about the central bank is about the U.S. economic outlook. In the short-run, it looked a clever trick, stemming a precipitous slide in global stock markets. (The hint that it might be prepared to take even further action didn’t hurt either). But will the Fed’s doubling-down on its “extended period” pledge work to support a flagging economic recovery when other, stronger unconventional monetary tools have already been deployed to questionable avail?

Beige, black and blue

July 28, 2011

It would have been worse without Canadians, big families and stately homes.

U.S. growth slowed in most parts of the country in June and into mid-July, the Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book survey of economic conditions across the country.

Taylor rules were made to be broken

July 27, 2011

When calibrating monetary policy, central bank officials often turn to the Taylor rule, a useful construct for thinking about the relationship between unemployment and inflation pioneered by John Taylor, former Treasury official and Stanford economics professor. So as the U.S. economy appears to falter and investors begin to speculate on the prospect of another round of monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve, it’s worth checking in with Taylor’s model.

from The Great Debate:

A great divide holds back the relevance of economists

By Mark Thoma
July 26, 2011

By Mark Thoma
The opinions expressed are his own.

Reuters invited leading economists to reply to Mark Thoma’s Op-Ed on the “great divide” in economics and will be publishing the responses. Here are responses from Ashwin ParameswaranJames HamiltonDean Baker, Lawrence Summers, and a recap of Paul Krugman’s.

A very British excuse

July 26, 2011

This time it was the royal wedding. When the economy shrank unexpectedly late last year, it was the bad weather. If Britain’s economy again struggles to generate growth in the current quarter, perhaps it will be blamed on the new series of ‘The Apprentice’.

Fed’s Plosser on default risk, inflation, and more

July 21, 2011

The following are highlights from a Reuters interview with Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser on Wednesday.

Debt ceiling scuffle already hurting economy

July 20, 2011

When U.S. President Barack Obama warns about the possible damage to economic growth from a failure to lift the debt ceiling, he usually speaks about it in the future tense. So does Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke who, when asked about the issue in congressional testimony last week, said “it certainly could slow the economy.”