Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Changes in monetary tectonics

At home:
Ball: "or the first time, the Fed clearly says it will be more dovish in the future than the pre-crisis Taylor Rule dicates [sic]."

O'Brian:  The Fed still thinks it’s first rate hike will come in 2015-ish, and it’s still buying $85 billion of bonds a month. This is a true fact. But it undersells the intellectual shift at the Fed. It’s gone from mostly thinking about inflation to creating a framework to guide its thinking about inflation and unemployment. And it’s done that in just a year.

Today’s statement provides important additional clarification of the conditions under which it will be appropriate to begin raising short-term interest rates, relative to the FOMC’s statements in September and October. Such clarification is particularly likely to help stimulate the economy when, as in this case, it indicates that the conditions required for policy tightening will not be reached as early as some might have expected on the basis of past Fed behavior.
The explicit thresholds mentioned today are not ones that will be reached as soon as a federal funds rate above 25 basis points would be dictated by a reaction function estimated on the basis of the FOMC’s pre-crisis decisions, and in that respect the announcement should change the forecasts of future Fed policy of at least some market participants.
Yglesias: This is huge. With today’s policy announcement, the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee has stopped screwing around and started doing real expectations-based monetary easing.

In England:
Carney [up and coming BoE head]: If yet further stimulus were required, the policy framework itself would likely have to be changed. For example, adopting a nominal GDP level target could in many respects be more powerful than employing thresholds under flexible inflation targeting.

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