Tags: federal reserve | esther george | taper | size

Fed's George: Size of Initial Taper May Not Matter Much

Friday, 27 September 2013 07:22 AM

The scale of the first reduction in asset purchases by the Federal Reserve is not as important as the clarity with which it communicates about where its policies are heading, a top U.S. central banker said on Thursday.

"I don't know that the initial amount really matters in the context of its impact," Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George told an audience in Denver after a speech.

"What is important, though, is that we will have to be clear, once we start, where we will be going with the end of the program," she said.

Editor’s Note: 5 Reasons Stocks Will Collapse . . .

Earlier in her speech, she said the failure of the Fed to begin scaling back bond buying at its meeting last week surprised financial markets and could undermine the effectiveness of its policies in the future.

George, an outspoken policy hawk who was the sole dissenter at the Fed's September 17-18 policy committee meeting, said that she had been disappointed by the majority's decision.

"Delaying action not only allows potential costs to grow, it also has the potential to threaten the credibility and the predictability of future monetary policy actions," she told the Colorado Economic Forum at a dinner in Denver.

"Policy moves that surprise the market often result in additional volatility."

George has dissented at every meeting this year against the Fed's massive bond purchase program, which she warns could lead to asset bubbles and inflation in the future.

Financial markets were stunned by the decision of the policy-setting committee last week to keep buying bonds at a monthly pace of $85 billion.

That contradicted clear signals all summer from Fed officials that they were getting ready to begin scaling back the program, marking the beginning of the end to an unprecedented five years of ultra-easy monetary policy.

George cautioned that this delay could lead financial markets to doubt the strength of the U.S. economy.

"Markets might misconstrue the postponement of action as reflecting a Committee assessment that the broader economic outlook is substantially weaker, when that is not the case."

On the contrary, she viewed the durability of U.S. growth and hiring in the face of Washington budget cuts as encouraging.

"The labor market and the broader economy have continued to improve in the face of fiscal tightening. I interpret this resilience as a signal that the economy's underlying fundamentals have improved substantially," she said.

Furthermore, by surprising investors, the Fed could sap confidence in its own forward guidance, that it will hold interest rates near zero until unemployment hits 6.5 percent, provided the outlook for inflation stays under 2.5 percent.

"Failing to adjust purchases at the last meeting, however, could risk the credibility and strength of these thresholds," she said. The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.3 percent in August.

Editor’s Note: 5 Reasons Stocks Will Collapse . . .

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The scale of the first reduction in asset purchases by the Federal Reserve is not as important as the clarity with which it communicates about where its policies are heading, a top U.S. central banker said on Thursday.
federal reserve,esther george,taper,size
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2013-22-27
Friday, 27 September 2013 07:22 AM
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