Whatever It Takes – The Fed Version

Back in July in a London investment conference, ECB President Mario Draghi pledged to do “whatever it takes” to protect the Eurozone from collapsing. Though he mildly disappointed the market in ECB’s August meeting, President Draghi delivered on his pledge is September. One of the observers was Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke who hinted of his own action in late August.

Today, Chairman Bernanke announced Fed’s version of “whatever it takes”. After seemingly not doing enough to handle high unemployment rate, Bernanke put the emphasis on improving employment situation:

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee is concerned that, without further policy accommodation, economic growth might not be strong enough to generate sustained improvement in labor market conditions. Furthermore, strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook. The Committee also anticipates that inflation over the medium term likely would run at or below its 2 percent objective.

So what was the big bazooka that he deployed? One, he extended the time period that Fed will maintain the easy monetary policies to mid-2015. Second, he announced additional purchasing of agency mortgage-backed securities – to the tune of $40 billion per month – until the labor market improves significantly.

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 agreed today to increase policy accommodation by purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month. The Committee also will continue through the end of the year its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in June, 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. 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.

Federal Reserve also released its economic projections. And, some of its September numbers are better than the estimates made in June.

2012 2013 2014 2015
Change in real GDP 1.7 to 2.0 2.5 to 3.0 3.0 to 3.8 3.0 to 3.8
June Projections 1.9 to 2.4 2.2 to 2.8 3.0 to 3.5 n.a.
Unemployment rate 8.0 to 8.2 7.6 60 7.9 6.7 to 7.3 6.0 to 6.8
June Projections 8.0 to 8.2 7.5 to 8.0 7.0 to 7.7 n.a.
PCE inflation 1.7 to 1.8 1.6 to 2.0 1.6 to 2.0 1.8 to 2.0
June Projections 1.2 to 1,7 1.5 to 2.0 1.5 to 2.0 n.a.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email