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.

Exports continue to give cold shoulder to Bank of Canada’s Poloz

November 13, 2015

Ever since Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz took office, he has preached the merits of a weaker currency for Canadian exports. But the roughly 30 percent fall in the dollar since then has failed to coax an export-based revival in Canada.

Fiscal spending the only way out for Canada’s struggling economy?

October 29, 2015

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau waves while accompanied by his wife Sophie Gregoire as he gives his victory speech after Canada's federal election in MontrealAfter sailing relatively smoothly through the choppy waters of the financial crisis and its after-effects, the Canadian economy is finally getting caught up in the global economic slowdown.

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.

ECB’s ‘whole menu’ bereft of new dishes

October 28, 2015

A freelance journalist eats his dinner behind a note advertising a "crisis menu" in a restaurant in SibiuECB President Mario Draghi’s ‘whole menu’ of monetary policy options to spur lending and boost euro area inflation from below zero appears to have few new dishes, if any at all.

Euro zone bank lending sluggish despite tsunami of QE and cheap cash

October 27, 2015

A picture illustration shows Euro banknotes in Zenica

For the European Central Bank, digging deeper into quantitative easing may be the only policy option left, now that growth in bank lending to businesses is stalling again.

Brazil’s currency tests central bank’s patience

October 5, 2015

Brazil's Central Bank President Tombini gestures during a public hearing of the Budget Joint Commission in the Chamber of Deputies in Brasilia

The Brazilian real’s dramatic drop has left the central bank with two options: jack up rates aggressively in one startling move, or tolerate higher inflation for longer.

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.