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Apr 26, 2012

Fed stands pat but says will act if needed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday said U.S. monetary policy was “more or less in the right place” even though the central bank would not hesitate to launch another round of bond purchases if the economy were to weaken.

In a statement after a two-day meeting, the Fed’s policy-setting panel reiterated its expectation that interest rates would not rise until late 2014 at the earliest, and it took no action on monetary policy.

Apr 25, 2012

Fed sticks to late 2014 rate hike time frame

WASHINGTON, April 25 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve on
Wednesday repeated its promise to leave interest rates on hold
until at least late 2014 but offered few clues into whether it
might offer additional stimulus later this year.

The Fed described the economy as expanding moderately, just
as it did in March, and said the unemployment rate had declined
but remains elevated.

Apr 22, 2012

ECB deaf to call for more action to help euro zone

WASHINGTON, April 22 (Reuters) – European Central Bank
officials showed no sign of bending to renewed international
pressure to do more to boost the euro zone’s struggling economy.

Top ECB policymakers, attending the International Monetary
Fund’s spring meetings, politely but firmly rebuffed the IMF’s
call that the bank should cut its policy interest rate below 1
percent and be prepared to provide more public funding to banks
to reduce the risk of a new flare-up of the crisis.

Apr 11, 2012

Fed in wait-and-see mode on extra stimulus

LOUIS (Reuters) – Comments by two top U.S. Federal Reserve officials on Wednesday suggest the central bank is on hold as it waits to see whether a modest recovery will accelerate despite some stumbles, or whether additional monetary stimulus will be needed.

One Fed official said that gloomy jobs data for March does not signal the U.S. economic recovery has been thrown off course. Another said the bar is high for the central bank to take any further easing steps.

Apr 10, 2012
via MacroScope

Seein’ double, gettin’ in trouble at the Fed

OK, this time, maybe it was a mistake to do the math.

Concluding the Fed was cooler to more monetary easing by trying to tally policymakers who openly expressed support for further stimulus at the March meeting may have led to a distorted picture of where officials’ views stand. Weak March payrolls data underscore the shakiness of this analysis.

First, let’s run the numbers. Minutes of the Fed’s March meeting revealed that “a couple” participants on the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee thought the economy would need more help from the Fed if things got worse. That head count was a lot smaller than the previous meeting. January minutes had shown “a few” participants thought there should be more easing if things continued as they were. “Other members” at the first meeting of the year had thought the Fed should act if the outlook got worse.

Apr 9, 2012
via MacroScope

Housing healing

More than six years after its spectacular collapse, the U.S. housing market – the laggard of the struggling economic recovery – may be poised for pickup, driven in part by an upswing in remodeling, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch economist Michelle Meyer thinks.

Gains are likely to be modest at first, and are subject to volatility since overall economic growth may well slow in the second half of this year. Also, given the deep hole housing has fallen into, the market is still far from a robust recovery, Meyer wrote in a note to clients drawn from recent research.

Apr 5, 2012
via MacroScope

Pirate economics at the Fed

Avast ye swabs! Maybe the disconnect between improving labor markets and sluggish economic growth that  has Federal Reserve policymakers scratching their heads makes sense if viewed through a pirate’s spyglass – with a lot of latitude, according to a top Fed official.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard sees the 8.3 unemployment rate continuing to fall at a sprightly pace. That’s even though Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has fretted the jobless rate’s precipitous tumble since August, when it was 9. 1 percent, doesn’t square with the relatively modest pace of growth.

Apr 5, 2012

Bullard: Fed’s 2014 rate language too pessimistic

LOUIS, April 5 (Reuters) – A top Federal Reserve
official said on Thursday that the central bank’s projection of
late 2014 for the first likely increase in interest rates sends
too pessimistic a signal as the economic recovery strengthens.

“The 2014 language in effect names a date far in the future
at which macroeconomic conditions are still expected to be
exceptionally poor,” St. Louis Federal Reserve President James
Bullard said. “This is an unwarranted pessimistic signal for the
(Fed) to send.”

Apr 4, 2012

Federal Reserve tones down talk of more stimulus

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve policymakers have backed away from the need for another round of monetary stimulus as the U.S. economy gradually improves.

Minutes of the central bank’s meeting published on Tuesday showed only two of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee’s 10 voting members saw the case for additional monetary stimulus.

Apr 3, 2012

Fed tones down talk of more stimulus

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve policymakers appear less inclined to launch a fresh round of monetary stimulus as the U.S. economy gradually improves, according to minutes for the central bank’s March meeting.

Economic growth has strengthened slightly, Fed officials noted, but they remained cautious about a broad pick up in U.S. activity, focusing heavily on a still elevated jobless rate.

    • About Mark

      "Mark Felsenthal is a Reuters White House correspondent who covered Barack Obama's re-election in 2012 and the fiscal crisis that immediately followed. Since joining Reuters in 2001, he has written about monetary policy, currency wars, and the housing market meltdown."
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