The much-awaited piece from Jon Hilsenrath about FED “tapering” appeared in the weekend WSJ, and, as promised by the abundant tweets, it delivered very little in providing any new insights into Fed halting of security purchases. The headline, “Fed Maps Exit From Stimulus,” wasn’t a map of any kind and merely seemed to provide the philosopher’s answer to question of what to do when confronted with the fork in the road … TAKE IT. The FED is caught on the horns of a dilemma for it wants to provide some clarity as to how it will end the large-scale asset purchases (LSAP) without sending the market into a downside tailspin. The massive increase in the FED‘s balance sheet has provided the rocket fuel to boost the demand for all types of risky assets but how do they know the economy has enough strength to sustain the rally on its own. It seems that the most important voice now will be Fed Governor Jeremy Stein–more important than Jon Hilsenrath–for he seemed to unnerve Chairman Bernanke with his April 19 speech in which he warned about the distorting impact the Fed was having on risk assets. It seems the Chairman has awoken to the idea that the FED has blown an asset bubble, especially now that the Japanese have added to global liquidity.
Posts Tagged ‘Richard Fisher’
A an op-ed piece in last weeks WSJ created a great deal of buzz in the financial media. Appearing a few days after the aggressive move by the FED, the opinion piece written by five eminent economists–George Schultz, Michael Boskin, John Cogan, Allan Meltzer and John B. Taylor–criticizes the Bernanke Fed’s QE policy from many different aspects. It is not the criticism that is significant but rather the stature of the economists that are calling the question of the FED’s continued one-dimensional response to the tepid growth following the deep recession of 2007-2008. The media would have the public believe that the only economists qualified to theorize on the problems at hand are those chosen by the FED and its research staff. The financial media bowed to the altar of Alan Greenspan– the Maestro, Oracle and whatever else–and thus the cult of personality was thrust upon the markets.
The FED hounds were unmuzzled after last week’s FOMC and “The Line it Is Drawn. The Curse It is Cast.” Bob Dylan must have been anticipating the difference of opinion that is developing within the Federal Reserve bank. In a speech last night, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said: “There are many superb PHD theorists among the 19 members of the FOMC and support staff. There are only a handful of us–four, to be exact–who have worked as bankers or in the financial markets.” Fisher discussed holding back from further QE based on evidence from his business contacts. The Dallas Fed President was dismissed when,”Some suggested that perhaps my corporate contacts were not sophisticated in the workings of monetary policy.” (Hat tip to Professor K.W. for sending the piece). It seems that the collegial attitude is eroding at the FED if the ivory tower is not the place of residence. Today, it was the Minneapolis Fed President Kocherlakota who delivered what I consider to be an outlandish speech.
Notes From Underground: Housing Is Making It As the Foundation of Obama’s Domestic Agenda … Why Hasn’t Geithner Been Replaced?October 24, 2011
The speeches by FOMC GOVERNOR TARULLO and Vice Chair Yellen were followed up with an Obama speech on a “major” REFI operation and many articles in the media. In today’s Financial Times, Larry Summers just happened to have a piece titled, “WHY THE HOUSING BURDEN STALLS AMERICA’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY.” It seems that the administration has awakened to the fact that the credit crisis has been wrapped in a housing crunch that has kept consumer demand lackluster at best. (Also known as the Geithner plan: Aid the banks first and maybe help the debt-laden consumer/homeowner somewhere down the line.)
Tonight will be all quick hitters as the big news is sparse, to say the least. The Fed released the minutes of the September FOMC meeting. Besides discussing the idea of QE3, the most interesting read was that Fisher was not as hawkish as his NO VOTE seemed. This makes sense as his speeches this week have been pretty DOVISH and I had thought that he was contradicting himself.