Slightly more than a year ago, the European Central Bank launched, with as much fanfare as can be expected from a central bank, a new incentive programme for commercial banks to lend to euro zone businesses, which they had been doing less and less of over the previous few years.
Ask three different economists and you’ll get three different answers.
While that’s not anything new, the different ways some analysts have spun the surprise — one of the biggest on U.S. data in many months — is exceptionally far from anything resembling a consensus.
Not to mix too many animal metaphors but, generally speaking, monetary policy hawks also tend to bulls on the economy. That is, they are leery of keeping interest rates too low for too long because they believe growth prospects are stronger than economists foresee, and therefore could lead to higher inflation.
If there was ever a time to be worried about whether the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying stimulus is having a positive effect on the economy, the last few months were probably not it. Everyone expected government spending cuts and tax increases to push the economic recovery off the proverbial cliff, while the outlook for overseas economies has very quickly gone from rosy to flashing red. But the American expansion has remained the fastest-moving among industrialized laggards, with second quarter gross domestic product revised up sharply to 2.5 percent.
U.S. housing sector fundamentals remain favorable despite the recent rise in interest rates and the sharp drop in housing starts in June, says Citigroup economist Peter D’Antonio.
Credit to Barclays economists for coining the term ‘Septaper’
A solid U.S. employment report for June appears to have cemented market expectations that the Fed will begin to reduce the pace of its bond-buying stimulus in September. Average employment growth for the last six months is now officially above 200,000 per month.