Fed Pres Bullard Clues us into What Fed Could Do

Over the past few weeks we have been focused on the question of whether the Fed will increase stimulus. Now that another round of QE is all but certain, the new question becomes how aggressive will the Fed be?

One Fed President has provided clues on what he thinks the Fed should do come November.

Fed President James Bullard has laid out his preferred stimulus plan. If you recall, Bullard was the Fed official that previously said “more easing is not obvious” but his latest comments show that he has joined the dove camp and will be supporting a very specific plan for boosting the U.S. economy. He wants the Fed to buy assets in $100 billion increments with no specific size after the November FOMC meeting. These increments are small but leaving it open ended would give the central bank the flexibility it needs to continue the program for as long as necessary. He sharply disagrees with the calls for “big bang” purchases. Most of the Fed officials who have called for large scale purchases are not voting members of the FOMC. Voting members such as Duke and Pianalto have been far more skeptical about the effectiveness. Bullard also indicated that he does not expect the FOMC to change the “extended period” language in the statement which would have been very bearish for the U.S. dollar. Based upon the market’s reaction, investors are not impressed by the second version of QE. There is a good chance that Bullard will be spot on because dissent within the central bank could lead to a compromise between the members of the FOMC that support more stimulus and those who oppose it. By leaving the purchases open ended and letting the market know that the size can be increased or decreased at anytime buys the Fed time and gives them the flexibility to adjust the size based upon the U.S. economy’s reaction.

Federal Reserve Kathy Lien

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