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Tags: Goldman | Hatzius | Growth | fed

Goldman’s Hatzius Trims Growth Estimate, Sees 75% Chance of Fed Stimulus

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:30 PM EDT

The Federal Reserve will hold a monetary policy meeting June 19-20 and there's a 75 percent chance the U.S. central bank will agree to intervene in the economy in some shape or form to spur more job creation, says Goldman Sachs Chief U.S. Economist Jan Hatzius.

Meanwhile, Hatzius also revised lower his second-quarter gross domestic product growth rate due to the tepid consumer-sales figures.

Stimulus measures could include bond buybacks, reshuffling its existing Treasury portfolio or even changes to the Fed's communications strategies to loosen already extraordinarily loose monetary policies.

Editor's Note: This Wasn’t an Accident — Experts Testify on Financial Meltdown

"I think if you take everything together there's likely to be easing. I wouldn't say that's a 99 percent call. I'd say maybe 75 percent or maybe a bit more," Hatzius tells CNBC.

Since the downturn, the Fed has rolled out two rounds of bond buybacks, officially known as quantitative easing (QE) with the aim of spurring recovery.

QE1 saw the Fed buy $1.7 trillion in assets from banks, mainly mortgage securities, while QE2 saw the central bank snap up $600 billion of Treasury bonds, the latter of which wrapped up on June 30, 2011.

The move, also called balance-sheet expansion, aims to push long-term interest rates lower and encourage investment and hiring.

After QE2, the Fed said it would sell short-term government bonds and buy $400 billion in longer-term debt in an effort to keep interest rates low, a move dubbed Operation Twist by the markets since it twists the numbers around on the yield curve.

"There are a number of things on the table. Balance sheet expansion and purchases of Treasurys and mortgages is our call. It's also possible that they basically decide to extend Operation Twist and then there are also various options in terms of the communication about future monetary policy moves which also could be an easing move. But that's another factor in the mix," Hatzius says

The U.S. economy may be showing signs of running into a soft patch.
In its latest jobs report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the country added a net 69,000 nonfarm payrolls to the economy in May.

By comparison, January and February added 275,000 and 259,000 net jobs, respectively.

Meanwhile, the country's gross domestic product grew lackluster 1.9 percent in the first quarter of this year, down from an initial estimate of 2.2 percent, according to official data.

Retail sales slid 0.2 percent in May from April, according to the Commerce Department, while April retail sales were revised to a 0.2 percent decline from a previous 0.1 percent gain.

Hatzius, meanwhile, is revising down his second-quarter gross domestic product growth rate downward to 1.6 percent from 1.8 percent due to the tepid sales figures.

"The report was a negative for our tracking estimate of Q2 GDP growth," Hatzius writes separately in a note to clients, according to Business Insider.

"Some of this may be offset by stronger inventory accumulation. Weakness in building material sales also trimmed our forecast for residential investment slightly. In total, we revised down our tracking estimate of Q2 GDP growth by two-tenths to +1.6% (annualized) from +1.8% previously."

Other analysts say weak retail sales increases the chances the Federal Reserve will roll out a third round of quantitative easing (QE3).

"We still believe the Fed would prefer to wait a bit longer on QE3 to see how the domestic and global situations play out, but the weak data certainly strengthen the argument for action," says Michelle Girard, senior economist at RBS in Stamford, Connecticut, according to Reuters.

Editor's Note: This Wasn’t an Accident — Experts Testify on Financial Meltdown

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Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:30 PM
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