Ben Bernanke

October 2012 December 2012 Comments
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September suggests that economic activity has continued to expand at a moderate pace in recent months. Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in October suggests that economic activity and employment have continued to expand at a moderate pace in recent months, apart from weather-related disruptions. Remember when the FOMC cited the Tsunami in Japan for economic weakness that would soon go away?  More grasping at straws.
Growth in employment has been slow, and the unemployment rate remains elevated. Although the unemployment rate has declined somewhat since the summer, it remains elevated. So long as discouraged workers increase, this is a meaningless statement.
Household spending has advanced a bit more quickly, but growth in business fixed investment has slowed.  The housing sector has shown some further signs of improvement, albeit from a depressed level. Household spending has continued to advance, and the housing sector has shown further signs of improvement, but growth in business fixed investment has slowed. No real change – just word order differences
Inflation recently picked up somewhat, reflecting higher energy prices.  Longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable. Inflation has been running somewhat below the Committee’s longer-run objective, apart from temporary variations that largely reflect fluctuations in energy prices. Longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable. Shades down their view of inflation, blaming energy prices. TIPS are showing rising inflation expectations since the last meeting. 5y forward 5y inflation implied from TIPS is now at 2.97%.  The FOMC is wrong on inflation.
Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. No change. Any time they mention the “statutory mandate,” it is to excuse bad policy.
The Committee remains concerned that, without sufficient policy accommodation, economic growth might not be strong enough to generate sustained improvement in labor market conditions. The Committee remains concerned that, without sufficient policy accommodation, economic growth might not be strong enough to generate sustained improvement in labor market conditions. Emphasizes that the FOMC will keep doing the same thing and expect a different result than before. Monetary policy is omnipotent on the asset side, right?
Furthermore, strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook. Furthermore, strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook. No change.
The Committee also anticipates that inflation over the medium term likely would run at or below its 2 percent objective. The Committee also anticipates that inflation over the medium term likely will run at or below its 2 percent objective. No change. CPI is at 2.2% now, yoy, so that is quite a statement.
To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee will continue purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month. To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee will continue purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month. No change.Does not mention how the twist will affect those that have to fund long-dated liabilities.Wonder how long it will take them to saturate agency RMBS market?
The Committee also will continue through the end of the year its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of Treasury securities, and it is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities. The Committee also will purchase longer-term Treasury securities after its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of Treasury securities is completed at the end of the year, initially at a pace of $45 billion per month. The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and, in January, will resume rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. Operation Twist continues.  Additional absorption of long Treasuries commences.  Fed will make the empty “monetary base” move from $3 to 4 Trillion by the end of 2013.
These actions, which together will increase the Committee’s holdings of longer-term securities by about $85 billion each month through the end of the year, should put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative. Taken together, these actions should maintain downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative. No real change.
The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months. The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months. No change. Useless comment.
If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities, undertake additional asset purchases, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate until such improvement is achieved in a context of price stability. If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until such improvement is achieved in a context of price stability. Explicitly says that they will buy more long Treasuries.
In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will, as always, take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases. In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will, as always, take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases. The FOMC promises what it cannot know or deliver.
To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the economic recovery strengthens. To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens. No change.Promises that they won’t change until the economy strengthens.  Good luck with that.
In particular, the Committee also decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate are likely to be warranted at least through mid-2015. In particular, the Committee decided to keep the

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