Bernanke: The quickest way to raise rates is to keep them low

March 5, 2013

That’s not a typo in the headline. In a recent speech that took some mental gymnastics to absorb, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke countered critics of his low rates policy by arguing that a loose monetary policy is the best way to ensure rates can rise to more normal levels.

Hey brother, can you spare a coupon?

February 28, 2013

Remember those green shoots? Ever since Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke uttered those words in response to the first signs of recovery from the Great Recession in 2009, many forecasters – including Fed officials – have consistently overestimated the economy’s strength.

Bullard weighs in on his colleague’s challenge to the ‘Bernanke doctrine’

February 26, 2013

Earlier this month, Fed Governor Jeremy Stein made waves that are still rippling with a speech on the risks of credit bubbles. The policymaker said that the U.S. central bank could use interest rates, as opposed to the more conventional tool of regulation, to cool overheating in junk bonds and other markets.

Self-inflicted ‘sudden stop’? Brazil blocked by its own currency war trench

February 25, 2013

In times of currency wars, it’s best not to shoot yourself in the foot. By imposing several capital controls in the past years, Brazil might have tightened monetary policy right when the economy started to falter, Nomura’s strategist Tony Volpon wrote in a research note on Friday.

Hopefulness, not confidence, is spreading through the euro zone

February 22, 2013

Optimism in Germany is roaring and consumers across the euro zone are starting to become less gloomy. But the latest hard economic data are a reminder of the difference between confidence that things are going to get better, and the hope that they will.

Fed stimulus benefits still outweigh risks, Lockhart tells Reuters

February 20, 2013

The Federal Reserve is cognizant of the potential costs of its unconventional policies, but the economic benefits from asset purchases are still far greater than the potential costs, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart told Reuters in an interview from his offices.

Still not thinking the very thinkable on Britain’s future

February 20, 2013

Mark these words. Not only is Britain going to avoid a triple-dip recession, but the economy won’t shrink again as far as the eye can see.

Show and tell: Fed’s balance sheet not as big as you thought

February 15, 2013

Size matters, and Federal Reserve’s balance sheet is not as big as shrill critics of QE3 would lead you to believe.

QE3 debate kicks into high gear: Get ready for an assembly line of Fed speeches

February 8, 2013

Is it full steam ahead for the Fed’s QE3 or is the U.S. central bank having second thoughts? Next week’s veritable assembly line of speeches from Fed officials could help answer that question. Vice Chair and possible Bernanke successor Janet Yellen kicks off the week with remarks to an AFL-CIO conference. She is followed by numerous regional Fed presidents, the bulk of them with hawkish tendencies: Esther George, Jeffrey Lacker, Charles Plosser and Dennis Lockhart on Tuesday, St. Louis’ James Bullard on Wednesday and Thursday, and finally, Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto Friday. Oh, and the Fed’s regulatory point person, board governor Daniel Tarullo, testifies before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday. The topic is a now-perennial one: “Wall Street Reform.”

Fading productivity could hurt U.S. job growth

February 8, 2013

RBC economist Tom Porcelli is such a curmudgeon these days. Still, given that he was one of the few economists that accurately predicted the possibility of a negative reading on fourth quarter GDP, maybe it’s not a bad idea to listen to what he has to say.