Despite the Federal Reserve’s trillions of dollars in newly printed money, workers’ wages and overall U.S. inflation have failed to take off since the recession. Longer-term borrowing costs, from 10-year Treasury yields to 30-year home mortgages, have also compressed without any real signs of reversing. While this has perplexed many economists, transcripts of the U.S. central bank’s crisis-fighting meetings in 2009 show that Janet Yellen, then the head of the San Francisco Fed, was prescient in warning colleagues of these very problems.
The Federal Reserve faces two big challenges in the months and years ahead: how to finally “liftoff” after more than six years of rock bottom interest rates, and how to begin drawing down its $4.5-trillion balance sheet after three massive rounds of bond purchases. But, it turns out, those questions were being raised at the U.S. central bank as far back as 2009.
The U.S. Federal Reserve just released full transcripts of its crisis-fighting meetings of 2009, when the U.S. economy was in the depths of recession and unemployment was soaring to 10 percent. Janet Yellen, who at the time was head of the San Francisco Fed, gave a sense of just how scary things were getting:
G20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Istanbul will pledge to act decisively on monetary and fiscal policy if needed to combat the risk of stagnation, according to a draft communique obtained by Reuters last night. As has been customary at these summits, a lot of the discussion implicitly centres on Germany.
Borrowing in dollars is like playing “Russian roulette”, India’s central bank chief Raghuran Rajan said on Bloomberg TV this week.
EU foreign ministers hold an extraordinary meeting today after their leaders have asked them to consider possible new sanctions on Russia. A final decision to impose them is likely to be left to their bosses who meet in next month and again in March.
Even as the expected date for an eventual interest rate rise in the U.S., Britain and Canada keeps getting pushed further into the future, the outlook for residential housing markets in these countries is also starting to cool.
The Bank of England will produce its quarterly inflation report today. With wage growth still notable by its absence and inflation dropping to just 1.2 percent in September, noises from within the BoE suggest the timing of a first interest rate rise is heading further over the horizon.