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Jun 18, 2013
via MacroScope

The chairman’s challenge: Bernanke says ‘taper,’ markets hear ‘tighten’

For a central bank that likes to tout the importance of clear communication, the Federal Reserve sure knows how to be obtuse when it wants to. Take Bernanke’s testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress last month. His prepared remarks were reliably dovish, emphasizing weakness in the labor market and offering no hint of an imminent end to the current stimulus program, which involves the monthly purchase of $85 billion in assets.

It was during the question and answer session that the real fireworks came. Asked about the prospect for curtailing such bond buys, Bernanke said:

Jun 17, 2013
via MacroScope

What’s a Fed to do? Taper talk persists despite missed jobs, inflation targets

As the Federal Reserve meets this week, unemployment is still too high and inflation remains, well, too low. That makes some investors wonder why policymakers are talking about curtailing their asset-buying stimulus plan. True, job growth has averaged a solid 172,000 net new positions per month over the last year, going at least some way to meeting the Fed’s criteria of substantial improvement for halting bond purchases.

So, either policymakers see brighter skies ahead or they want to get out of QE3 for other reasons they may rather not air too publicly: worries about efficacy or possible financial market bubbles.

Jun 17, 2013
via MacroScope

“This was really eye-opening for me”: Fed’s Raskin shocked at low quality of work at local job fair

The first portion of Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin’s remarks to the Roosevelt Institute earlier this month were pretty standard central bank fodder. Raskin, on the dovish side of Fed monetary leanings, said U.S. unemployment was still too high, and far more progress was needed in bringing a somnolent job market back to life.

But the second half of her comments offered an unusually personal look at one Fed official’s dismay with the country’s economic situation. Stumbling into a job fair near her house, Raskin was stunned by the generally low quality of positions available. In her own words:

Jun 13, 2013
via MacroScope

What’s in a (trend payrolls) number? The Chicago Fed paper that shook the markets, ever so slightly

      

Ann Saphir contributed to this post

The apparent conclusion from one of the most dovish regional Federal Reserve banks was rather surprising: The economy may actually need much smaller monthly job growth, of around 80,000 or less, in coming years in order for the jobless rate to keep moving lower. The immediate policy implication, it might seem, is that the U.S. central bank may have to tighten monetary policy much sooner than previously thought.

Andrew Brenner of National Alliance remarked that, while the report should be taken with a grain of salt, “this translates to lowering the bar to QE tapering.”

Jun 12, 2013

Yellen overwhelming favorite to replace Bernanke at Fed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve’s powerful vice chair, is by far the most likely candidate to replace Ben Bernanke when his second term at the helm of the U.S. central bank ends early next year, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

The poll found that an overwhelming 40 of 44 economists said Yellen, the former president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, will take over for her boss in February 2014. Support for her nomination was strong but less decisive, with 23 of 38 economists backing Yellen’s bid for the top job.

Jun 12, 2013

Yellen overwhelming favorite to replace Bernanke at Fed: Reuters poll

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve’s powerful vice chair, is by far the most likely candidate to replace Ben Bernanke when his second term at the helm of the U.S. central bank ends early next year, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

The poll found that an overwhelming 40 of 44 economists said Yellen, the former president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, will take over for her boss in February 2014. Support for her nomination was strong but less decisive, with 23 of 38 economists backing Yellen’s bid for the top job.

Jun 12, 2013

Reuters poll: Janet Yellen overwhelming favourite to replace Bernanke at Fed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve’s powerful vice chair, is by far the most likely candidate to replace Ben Bernanke when his second term at the helm of the U.S. central bank ends early next year, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

The poll found that an overwhelming 40 of 44 economists said Yellen, the former president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, will take over for her boss in February 2014. Support for her nomination was strong but less decisive, with 23 of 38 economists backing Yellen’s bid for the top job.

Jun 12, 2013
via MacroScope

Forget the ‘wealth effect’: real wages drive U.S. consumer spending

 

Federal Reserve officials have touted the ‘wealth effect’ from higher stock prices and rising home values as a key way in which monetary policy boosts consumer spending and economic activity. But according to the results of a recent survey from the Royal Bank of Canada, that ethereal feeling of being richer on paper is no substitute for cold, hard cash.

Here’s how Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke explained the benefits of rising asset prices to the real economy during a press conference in September.

Jun 7, 2013
via MacroScope

No relief in sight for millions of unemployed Americans: Cleveland Fed report

The new normal is getting old. And when it comes to America’s stuttering employment market, it’s not going to get much better any time soon, according to a new report from the Cleveland Fed.

The U.S. economy created 175,000 new jobs in May, while the jobless rate rose slightly. It was a neither-here-nor-there sort of report. In the Labor Department’s own words: Both “the number of unemployed persons, at 11.8 million, and the unemployment rate, at 7.6 percent, were essentially unchanged in May.” 

Jun 6, 2013
via MacroScope

Inflation, not jobs, may hold key to Fed exit

It’s that time of the month again: Wall Street is anxiously awaiting the monthly employment figures – less because of its interest in job creation and more because of what the numbers will mean for the Federal Reserve’s unconventional stimulus policies.

As one money manager put it all too candidly: “Bad news is good news in this market lately because it keeps the Fed buying bonds and interest rates low.”

    • 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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