Potholes could be dead ahead in the road soon after Fed rate hike

November 20, 2015

Patches on top of patches covering potholes litter a road in Sonoma County, California, May 9, 2013. Harrison, a local resident and attorney, is part of a grass-roots campaign to fix the crumbling roads of Sonoma County, which is struggling with the same type of government financial crisis that has driven California cities such as Stockton and San Bernardino into bankruptcy. Picture taken May 9, 2013.   REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach   (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS TRAVEL) - RTX1053C

The Federal Reserve’s planned smooth and gradual rate hike path may be bumpier than anticipated if U.S. economic growth over the next several months and punishingly cold winter weather follow a well-established recent pattern.

With such similar inflation, how far behind the Fed can the BoE be?

November 18, 2015

RTR4OY3Z.jpgNot long ago, the big debate was over who would raise rates first, the U.S. Federal Reserve or the Bank of England. Now with the Fed giving clear signals it’s on the brink of hiking and the BoE appearing to be pushing that day further off into the future, one could naturally conclude that the inflation outlook in both economies is vastly different.

What’s China gonna do? Forget about it. What’s Yellen gonna do?

October 30, 2015

By now, you’ve probably heard this catchy song about China’s five-year plan on Youtube. If not, take a listen.

U.S. growth probably slowed sharply in Q3…and winter is coming

October 29, 2015

RTR4U8M1.jpgIt’s probably a good thing the Federal Reserve concluded its latest policy meeting with a strong signal of its intentions, because GDP growth data expected later on Thursday are unlikely to cement rate hike views one way or another.

No, really: look to economists for nuance on Fed’s decision-making

October 29, 2015

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Yellen testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in WashingtonFor all of the incessant talk from market trading desks on how economic forecasters are hopelessly off track on just about everything, their collective thinking on the subtleties of Fed policy near a potentially historic turning point has been well worth listening to.

U.S. job market growth: all work and still little pay

October 1, 2015

We have already heard enough commentators and economists explain how U.S. payrolls data will not matter much in coming months because we’re at a solid enough pace of hiring to keep the unemployment rate, already at just 5.1 percent, on a steady downward path.

from Ann Saphir:

To boldly go where no central banker has gone before

October 1, 2015

John Williams, chief of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, happens to have the same name as the guy who wrote the music for the Star Wars films. Judging from his speeches of late, the Fed’s own Williams is something of a sci-fan himself.  Thursday in Salt Lake City he borrowed from the iconic greeting of Star Trek’s Spock with a talk titled “The Economic Outlook: Live long and Prosper.” Earlier this month he riffed on Star Wars, with a speech subtitled “May the (economic) force be with you.” In July, he spoke about “The recovery’s final frontier” (see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098382/). So it is quite logical that the enterprising captain of the Fed’s farthest-flung Western outpost would be keen on exploring strange new worlds. And here I don’t just mean voyaging to Los Angeles, where he was on Monday, or to Spokane, Wash., where he treks next week. Williams, like most Fed officials, believes that after nearly seven years of extraordinarily easy monetary policy, the U.S. economy is finally ready to leave near-zero interest rates behind. On Thursday, Williams repeated his view that the Fed should raise interest rates this year. Not all U.S. central bankers agree – one can almost hear Minneapolis Fed’s Kocherlakota or Chicago Fed’s Evans echoing Princess Leia’s warning, “I have a bad feeling about this.” Certainly, if the Fed can successfully raise rates without quickly needing to cut them again, it will have pulled off what several other global central banks – the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan, Sweden’s Riksbank --  have tried to do, but failed. Raising rates this year, as Williams hopes and expects to, would indeed be a bold move; and if the first hike is followed by others, he would indeed be taking the Fed where no other central bank has gone before.

U.S. manufacturing flashing warning signs

September 29, 2015

U.S. manufacturing may be in trouble. Nearly all key indicators measuring the health of manufacturers in the world’s largest economy have disappointed over the past year.

Fear could lead Fed into a much more fearsome trap

September 18, 2015

Delaying its first rate hike in nearly a decade after taking a pass in June and July means the U.S. central bank may have stepped further away from an escape from zero rates and $3.7 trillion of asset purchases bloating its balance sheet.