Scrambling to flesh out skeleton Fed board

April 25, 2014

“It’s about time” was the general reaction when on Thursday the Senate Banking Committee scheduled a vote on Barack Obama’s nominees for the Federal Reserve board. Not that Stanley Fischer, Lael Brainard and Jerome Powell (a sitting governor who needs re-confirmation) have been waiting all that long; it was January that the U.S. president nominated them as central bank governors, and only a month ago that the trio testified to the committee. The urgency and even anxiety had more to do with the fact that only four members currently sit on the Fed’s seven-member board and one of those, Jeremy Stein, is retiring in a month. The 100-year old Fed has never had only three governors, and the thought of the policy and administrative headaches that would bring was starting to stress people out. After all, the Fed under freshly-minted chair Janet Yellen is in the midst of its most difficult policy reversal ever.

Is it time for the ECB to do more?

March 31, 2014

From financial forecasters to the International Monetary Fund, calls for the European Central Bank to do more to support the euro zone recovery are growing louder.

Japan-style deflation in Europe getting harder to dismiss

February 13, 2014

To most people, the idea of falling prices sounds like a good thing. But it poses serious economic and financial risks – just ask the Japanese, who only now finally have the upper hand in a 20-year battle to drag their economy out of deflation.

Euro zone inflation falls again; economists base ECB rate cut calls on deja vu

February 4, 2014

Euro zone inflation has dipped again and some forecasters are hedging their bets on the policy response by saying the European Central Bank could either cut rates this week or sometime in the next two months.

Forward guidance is not fully living up to its name

January 30, 2014

Britain’s economy may have seen one of the fastest rebounds among industrialized nations last year, but half of 56 economists polled by Reuters think the Bank of England has lost some credibility over its handling of the forward guidance policy.

Shock now clearly trumps transparency in central bank policymaking

January 29, 2014

The days of guided monetary policy, telegraphed by central banks and priced in by markets in advance, are probably coming to an end if recent decisions around the world are any guide.

Why should the Bank of England hike rates when it can baby-step?

January 17, 2014

When the Bank of England decides to start hiking interest rates, it may find that its standard 25 and 50 basis point interest rate moves of old are too blunt a tool for Britain’s delicately-poised economic recovery.

from Rahul Karunakar:

A December taper: a chance to regain lost face?

December 18, 2013

Dear Fed,

You should taper in December and regain lost  face.

Signed,

A growing but vocal minority of economists

 

Even if the latest Reuters poll consensus still shows the Federal Reserve will wait until March before trimming its monthly bond purchases, the clamor to do that in December - or rather later today - is rising.

Hopes for a weaker euro looking more like fantasy

December 9, 2013

Hopes that the soaring euro will eventually fall and help the economy with a much-needed export boost for struggling euro zone nations are looking more and more like fantasy.

Auto-pilot QE and the Federal Reserve’s taper dilemma

November 26, 2013

 It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

When the U.S. Federal Reserve launched its third round of quantitative easing, or QE3, it was hailed as an “open-ended” policy that would last as long as needed. Most important for investors, the pace of the bond buying – which started at a somewhat arbitrary $85 billion per month – would be “data dependent.” Especially throughout the spring, officials stressed they were serious about adjusting the dial on QE3 depending on changes in the labor market and broader economy. But as the unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent last month from 8.1 percent when the program was launched in September, 2012, the bond-buying has effectively been on auto-pilot for 14 straight months.