pocket protector

Cautious Conversations

John Williams: “I think the data show that U.S. inflation can be easily modeled in the following way: It runs about 2 percent, and then there is some fluctuation from commodity/import prices and the amount of slack in the labor market…to me it’s not that much of a puzzle that underlying inflation is running about half a percentage point below our 2 percent goal.”  Furthermore, “I don’t think [low inflation abroad] speaks in any way to whether the U.S. can hit its 2 percent goal.  We know from history that we are able to control our own inflation rate through monetary policy despite other countries having rates that are higher or lower than ours is.”  Ben Bernanke: “I don’t see anything magical about targeting two percent inflation.  My advocacy of inflation targets as an academic and Fed governor was based much more on transparency and communication advantages of the approach and not as much on the specific choice of target.”  In regards to the future of monetary policy, Ben likes a big balance sheet: “monetary control might be more, rather than less, effective if the Fed [managed interest rates] by its settings of the interest rate paid on excess reserves and the overnight reverse repo rate.”  Also, a large balance sheet “facilitates the creation of an elastically supplied, safe, short-term asset for the private sector, in a world in which such assets seem to be in short supply.”  John seems to agree: “This is a typical Fed belts-and-suspenders approach.  We’re not exactly sure how interest rates will behave and so we want to make sure that we have the full set of tools and programs…it’s a lot of contingency planning.”

 

Millennials Trust Each Other And Basically No One Else

“Nearly one in three Americans who are now having to pay down their student debt…are at least a month behind on their payments,” says the St Louis Fed.  “Delinquencies on student debt are far higher than those for other forms of consumer credit, including credit cards, mortgages and auto loans…Delinquencies are no longer rising.  But they’re not going down, either.”  Meanwhile, PricewaterhouseCoopers sees a trend in the renting “sharing” economy: “We’re witnessing the rise of companies predicated on trust among strangers at the same time as general trust in society is actually falling…Why are hundreds of thousands of people letting strangers rent their bedrooms or drive their cars if society is growing more cynical?”  The answer: while trust in individuals and institutions is deteriorating, faith in the crowd is growing.  “In other words, I don’t trust you, Random Guy Giving Me A Ride Home, but I do trust the 4.9-star average rating of all the people who’ve been in your car before.”  Meanwhile, “if you think Chris Christie’s Social Security plan is bold, you should see Team 109’s.

 

ECB: Draghi Isn’t Worried About Scarcity Of QE Eligible Bonds

 

USA: As Long As He Keeps Blogging More Power To Him

 

ICYMI: Bonds Beware As Money Catches Fire In The US And Europe

That whole velocity of money thing isn’t really playing out the way some thought…here’s another go at it.

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