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 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.

This time, BOJ could wait and watch before coming to yen’s rescue

September 15, 2015

U.S. one-hundred dollar bill and Japanese 10,000 yen notes are spread in TokyoThe Japanese yen has strengthened unexpectedly by about 4 percent over the last month and it could rise further if the U.S. Federal Reserve delays a rate hike and the dollar weakens.

Reuters polls dashboard of key data ahead of Sept FOMC meeting

September 4, 2015

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

As anticipation builds ahead of the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee’s Sept. 16-17 meeting, the decision on whether rates will go up or not rests squarely on incoming economic data, according to Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

Grass getting flattened by fighting FX elephants

August 27, 2015

Young male elephants lock tusks in battle on the plains at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in Amboseli national park, southern KenyaThe ongoing race to the bottom for currencies this year is hurtling towards a zero-sum result.

Does the Bank of England really follow the Fed?

July 21, 2015

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????“Daft” is how outgoing Bank of England policymaker David Miles described the idea that Britain’s central bank would have to wait for the U.S. Federal Reserve before hiking interest rates.