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.

United on banking union?

By Mike Peacock
November 11, 2013

Reuters reported over the weekend that Angela Merkel’s Conservatives and the centre-left SPD had agreed that a body attached to European finance ministers, not the European Commission, to decide when to close failing banks.

Moments difficiles

By Mike Peacock
November 8, 2013

Breaking news is S&P’s downgrade of France’s credit rating to AA from AA+ putting it two notches below Germany. Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici has rushed out to declare French debt is among the safest and most liquid in the euro zone, which is true.

The limits of Federal Reserve forward guidance on interest rates

November 4, 2013

The ‘taper tantrum’ of May and June, as the mid-year spike in interest rates became known, appears to have humbled Federal Reserve officials into having a second look at their convictions about the power of forward guidance on interest rate policy.

Romer, taking aim at Fed, advocates ‘regime change’ and a shift to nominal GDP

October 28, 2013

By Alister Bull

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Christina Romer, former chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and a strong advocate for Janet Yellen to take over from Ben Bernanke as the next chair of the Federal Reserve, slammed the Fed in a lecture last week that accused the U.S. central bank of being too meek and of fighting the wrong battle by being fixated on asset bubbles.

Forever blowing bubbles?

By Mike Peacock
October 22, 2013

UK finance minister George Osborne is speaking at a Reuters event today, Bank of England Deputy Governor Charlie Bean addresses a conference and we get September’s public finance figures. For Osborne, there are so many question to ask but Britain’s frothy housing market is certainly near the top of the list.

Congress “smashed the instrument panel” of U.S. economic data: Fed’s Fisher

October 18, 2013

Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve and one of the U.S. central bank’s arch inflation hawks, took us by surprise this week – he told Reuters that, given all the uncertainty generated by the government shutdown, it would not be prudent for the Fed to reduce its bond-buying stimulus this month.

Can they kick it? Yes they can

October 15, 2013

Click here for suggested soundtrack to this blog 

During the recent round of financial crises, policymakers have done a whole lot of “kicking the can down the road”.

Fed doves strike back

October 4, 2013


Now that Washington’s circus-like government shutdown has put a damper on hopes for stronger U.S. economic growth going into next year, dovish Federal Reserve officials again appear to have the upper hand in the way of policy commentary.

Economic damage from the shutdown? Small to start, say forecasters

October 2, 2013

The U.S. government shutdown probably won’t hit the economy too hard, say economists. Some point to the fact the shutdown has come right at the start of the fourth quarter, meaning there’s time before the year’s out for the economy to recoup some of  lost output resulting from the downtime. But, the longer it goes on, the worse it will be.