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Sep 6, 2013
via MacroScope

If at first you don’t succeed… Fed’s Evans sticks to strong forecast despite misses

It’s nice to know Federal Reserve officials have a sense of humor about their own forecasting errors. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans was certainly humble enough to admit to some recent misses in a speech on Friday .

Still, he’s sticking to his guns, arguing that U.S. economic growth will finally break above 3 percent next year, allowing the Fed to gradually pull back on its bond-buying stimulus.

Sep 6, 2013

U.S. Fed can soon begin reducing stimulus, Evans says

, Sept 6 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal
Reserve can begin winding down its bond-buying stimulus later
this year, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said on Friday,
adding he was still unsure about whether to start in September.

A U.S. employment report earlier on Friday showing
relatively weak job gains but a drop in the jobless rate in
August was just mixed enough to leave uncertain the prospect of
a reduction in the Fed’s $85 billion monthly asset purchases.

Sep 6, 2013

Fed can start tapering ‘later this year,’ says Evans

GREENVILLE, South Carolina (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve can begin winding down its bond-buying stimulus later this year as the economy improves, but will likely need to keep official interest rates near zero for another two years, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said on Friday.

While Evans did not specify an exact month for the start of a reduction in the Fed’s purchases of mortgage and Treasury bonds, his timeline appears to make him reticent about making such a move in September, as most investors now expect.

Sep 6, 2013

U.S. Fed can start tapering ‘later this year,’ says Evans

, Sept 6 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal
Reserve can begin winding down its bond-buying stimulus later
this year as the economy improves, but will likely need to keep
official interest rates near zero for another two years, Chicago
Fed President Charles Evans said on Friday.

While Evans did not specify an exact month for the start of
a reduction in the Fed’s purchases of mortgage and Treasury
bonds, his timeline appears to make him reticent about making
such a move in September, as most investors now expect.

Sep 5, 2013
via MacroScope

Say it with confidence: Consumer surveys as a leading indicator of jobs

It turns out people are better employment forecasters than economists. A report from New York Fed economists finds that confidence measures gleaned from consumer surveys are very tightly correlated with the path of U.S. employment.

The paper offers some illustrative charts that make a rather convincing case.

The chart below plots the Present Situation Index against the unemployment rate, whose scale is inverted so that high levels represent strong labor market conditions (low unemployment) and vice versa. One readily apparent feature is that the two series move together very closely throughout the period and, most notably, during all five of the recessions since 1977. It’s hard to tell from inspecting the chart, but the highest correlation (0.89) occurs at a two-month lead; that is, the Present Situation Index is even more strongly correlated with the unemployment rate two months into the future than it is with the concurrent rate.

Sep 4, 2013

U.S. economy growing at ‘modest to moderate’ pace: Fed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. economy expanded at a “modest to moderate” pace in most of the country between early July and late August, according to a Federal Reserve report that was just strong enough to reinforce the prospect of a pullback in monetary stimulus.

With most Fed officials seemingly bent on moving away from controversial asset purchases aimed at keeping long-term rates down, investors are expecting the Fed to begin reducing the pace of its $85 billion monthly bond buys at policymakers’ next meeting later this month.

Sep 3, 2013
via MacroScope

‘The President’s Man’: Why a Summers Fed might be a more politicized Fed

Much, far too much, has been said and written about the circus that is the unofficial ‘race’ for the Federal Reserve’s chairmanship. Without rehashing the curious battle between former Obama adviser Larry Summers and Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen, Oppenheimer Funds chief economist Jerry Webman makes a good point about why a Summers appointment could create the appearance of partisanship in the conduct of monetary policy:

Historically, U.S. presidents have had mixed results from putting ‘their man’ at the head of the Fed table. President Truman thought he had an accommodative chairman in William McChesney Martin and got the man who famously took away the punch bowl. President Nixon also looked for a more accommodative chairman and unfortunately got one. I’m more impressed with Presidents Reagan, Clinton and Obama, who reappointed their predecessor’s man and got independent and (mostly) sound monetary policy. Sure Bernanke moved to the Fed chair from the chair of President Bush’s council of economic advisors, but even to his critics he’s never appeared to be a partisan figure – certainly not a GOP operative.

Sep 2, 2013
via MacroScope

Fed taxonomy: Lacker is a hawk, not a bull

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.

That is not the case, however, for Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, a vocal opponent of the central bank’s unconventional bond-buying stimulus program, particular the part of it that focuses on mortgages. He reiterated his concerns last week, saying the Fed should begin tapering in September by cutting out its mortgage bond buying altogether.

Aug 30, 2013
via MacroScope

Curious timing for Fed self-doubt on monetary policy

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.

Yet for some reason, at the highest levels of the U.S. central bank and in its most dovish nooks, the notion that asset purchases might not be having as great an impact as previously thought has become pervasive.

Aug 29, 2013

Fed should cut back on mortgage buys in September, Lacker says

NEWPORT NEWS, Virginia (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve should begin reducing purchases of mortgage bonds, part of its monetary stimulus program, at its meeting next month, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said on Thursday.

The outlook for the U.S. labor market had improved substantially since the Fed launched its most recent bond-buying stimulus last year, meeting the central bank’s stated precondition for a retreat from such purchases, Lacker said.

    • About Pedro

      "Pedro da Costa has been covering economics and financial markets since 2001. He is currently based in Washington and focuses on the Federal Reserve and macroeconomic policy. Da Costa earned a Master's in international relations at the University of California San Diego and studied sociology and political science as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago and the London School of Economics. He grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil."
      Joined Reuters:
      2001
      Languages:
      English, Portuguese, Spanish, French
      Awards:
      2011 Deadline Club Award from the Society of Professional Journalists' New York Chapter
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