Economists React: How Likely Is QE3 Following Jobs Data? – WSJ

CAPITAL ECONOMICS: QE3 will depend on second-quarter GDP and July’s ISM data because the jobs report was not bad enough to make QE3 “a done deal.” Both GDP and ISM numbers will be released just ahead of the Fed’s next policy meeting.

via Economists React: How Likely Is QE3 Following Jobs Data? – Real Time Economics – WSJ.

Comment:~ The range of opinion canvassed by WSJ leans toward the Fed holding off QE3 for the present because jobs numbers aren’t bad enough to warrant drastic intervention. In the long run QE appears inevitable — and not only in the US. There are three options: (1) stagnation with low growth and high unemployment; (2) debt-deflation as in 2009; and (3) inflation. Option (3) would reduce the public debt load by raising nominal GDP and rescue underwater homeowners and banks by lifting real estate values. Those on fixed incomes would suffer but they do not appear a powerful enough lobby to deter politicians from this course.

Stock market is saying ‘Don’t fight the Fed’ – Mark Hulbert – MarketWatch

Mark Hulbert: Investors appear to be betting that the Fed and European central banks now have no choice but to stimulate their economies to a much greater extent than previously planned. Since much of that additional liquidity would find its way into equities, the stock market responded favorably.

To put it crudely: The news is so bad it’s good.

via Stock market is saying ‘Don’t fight the Fed’ – Mark Hulbert – MarketWatch.

Fed Weighs ‘Sterilized’ Bond Buying if It Acts –

JON HILSENRATH: Federal Reserve officials are considering a new type of bond-buying program designed to subdue worries about future inflation if they decide to take new steps to boost the economy in the months ahead. Under the new approach, the Fed would print new money to buy long-term mortgage or Treasury bonds but effectively tie up that money by borrowing it back for short periods at low rates. The aim of such an approach would be to relieve anxieties that money printing could fuel inflation later, a fear widely expressed by critics of the Fed’s previous efforts to aid the recovery.

Transactions like those under the third scenario are called “reverse repos.” A related program called “term deposits” also ties up short-term money held by banks. The effect of this approach is the same as Operation Twist: The Fed would hold more long-term bonds and investors and banks would get more short-term holdings in exchange.

via Fed Weighs ‘Sterilized’ Bond Buying if It Acts –

Morgan Stanley Still Expects QE3 This Year – WSJ

“For some time, our call has been that the Federal Reserve will undertake additional balance-sheet action in the first half of 2012,” writes Vincent Reinhart, an economist with the bank and a former top-level Fed staffer.

He argues it’s most likely the Fed will act to expand its balance sheet via Treasury and mortgage bond buying — in market parlance, QE3 — at either the April or June Federal Open Market Committee, and that the ultimate size of the program could tack on $500 billion to $700 billion onto what is currently a $2.9 trillion balance sheet. There’s also a chance they will put in place a modified version of the current effort to sell short-dated bonds to buy longer-dated securities.

Why act? Reinhart says the second half of the year will box the Fed in politically. Officials won’t wish to be seen starting a high-profile action in the thick of the presidential campaign. Also, he reckons growth will still be too weak, and inflation will be falling short of the Fed’s 2% target.

via Morgan Stanley Still Expects QE3 This Year – Real Time Economics – WSJ.

Gold falls as Fed gives no signs of new stimulus | Marketscope | Investing | Financial Post

The dollar rebounded after Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, in congressional testimony, gave no signal that the central bank is considering additional measures to spur the economy. He said the inflation outlook is “subdued.” The greenback gained as much as 0.5 percent against a basket of competing currencies.

via Gold falls as Fed gives no signs of new stimulus | Marketscope | Investing | Financial Post.

QE3 – Wall Street’s biggest fantasy? | – Mean Street

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Steven Russolillo discusses the prospects of another round of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve based on recent comments by Dallas Fed Chief Richard Fisher.

The winners and losers of QE3 –

The Committee will regularly review the size and composition of its securities holdings and is prepared to adjust those holdings as appropriate to promote a stronger economic recovery in a context of price stability.

That’s a clear declaration of intended QE3 if conditions are met. The two conditions are price stability and inadequate employment growth. Price stability now has a number with the Fed also announcing a new inflation target of 2%. Anything under that number potentially triggers QE3.

via The winners and losers of QE3 – |

Nouriel Roubini’s Global EconoMonitor » The Straits of America

Given the bearish outlook for US economic growth, the Fed can be expected to engage in another round of quantitative easing. But the Fed also faces political constraints, and will do too little, and move too late, to help the economy significantly. Moreover, a vocal minority on the Fed’s rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee is against further easing. In any case, monetary policy cannot address only liquidity problems – and banks are flush with excess reserves.

Most importantly, the US – and many other advanced economies – remains in the early stages of a deleveraging cycle. A recession caused by too much debt and leverage (first in the private sector, and then on public balance sheets) will require a long period of spending less and saving more. This year will be no different, as public-sector deleveraging has barely started.

via EconoMonitor : Nouriel Roubini’s Global EconoMonitor » The Straits of America.

Spot gold finds support

Spot gold found support at $1500/ounce. Failure of this level would confirm a primary down-trend. Breach of the descending trendline would indicate that a base is forming, while recovery above $1800 would indicate a fresh primary advance to $2300*. We are unlikely to witness another bull-trend, however, unless the Fed introduces QE3.

Spot Gold

* Target calculation: 1900 + ( 1900 – 1500 ) = 2300

Westpac: Follow that Flow

  • The US recovery from the 2007–2009 recession has been particularly disappointing, in part due to the moribund state of the housing market.
  • The state of the housing market is in part a symptom of excess leverage, the US’ core concern.
  • Excess leverage will continue to weigh on US economic growth, restricting it to a sub-trend pace for the foreseeable future, resulting in a need for further QE.

….. Given the size of the US’ debt stock and the lack of assets set aside to fund future pension liabilities, it is logical to conclude that above-trend growth conditions are a long way off. In the meantime, households and government authorities will remain heavily exposed to any further deterioration in conditions, whether it be domestic or foreign (i.e. Europe) in origin.

QE3 will be needed merely to help protect against a further deterioration in economic conditions. Such a program would have to be large in scale and in coverage, likely covering USTs, mortgage securities and, with time, the existing debt of SLGs.

A final point: the degree of easing required to alleviate the financial stresses the US economy currently faces (and hopefully at least maintain the current level of activity) has not been recognised by markets. Given the precarious state of Europe, the market will likely take its time in coming to terms with the US’ own concerns. But, when the spotlight falls on the US, we expect a greater awareness of US credit risk and the absence of near-term growth prospects will see yields rise and the US dollar fall.