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Archive for November 5th, 2010

Bernanke comments/legacy

Posted by WARREN MOSLER on 5th November 2010


Bernanke: Aware Of Dollar’s Special Role In Global Economy
Bernanke: Best Fundamentals For Dollar Come From Strong Economy
Bernanke: Must Act To Bring Down Long-Term Fiscal Deficits
Bernanke: Well-Functioning Chinese Economy Good For US Economy

’nuff said??

Posted in Fed | 82 Comments »

QE still driving portfolio shifting

Posted by WARREN MOSLER on 5th November 2010

When Japan First Did QE, Stocks Shot Up And Then Quickly Cratered Massively

Pragmatic Capitalist

November 4 — There appears to be some confusion over the response of equity markets to quantitative easing. Of course, the Fed is hoping that they can ignite a “wealth effect” by driving stocks higher. But as we saw in Japan this failed to materialize. In fact, anyone buying in front of the QE announcement in Japan ultimately got crushed in the ensuing few months and years. When the BOJ initially announced the program in March 2001 the equity market rallied ~16%.

But the euphoria over the program didn’t last long. In fact, within 6 weeks of the announcement the Nikkei began to crater almost 30% over the course of several months. In the ensuing two years the Japanese stock market fell a staggering 43%! It wasn’t until the global economic recovery in 2003 that Japanese equities finally bottomed and went on a tear. Ultimately, the BOJ ended the program in March 2006 and deemed it a failure.

Posted in Equities, Japan | 3 Comments »


Posted by WARREN MOSLER on 5th November 2010

Karim writes:
Very solid number in many respects

  • NFP +151k plus Net revisions +110k
  • Private sector job gwth +159k
  • Average hourly earnings +0.2% and index of aggregate hours +0.4% will combine with the jobs increase to produce a very strong personal income number for October
  • Hours data will also show up in stronger industrial production, cap u, etc.
  • Unemployment rate unch at 9.6% but that is well understood to be the last labor market indicator to turn
  • Some industry highlights in terms of net job changes: Construction +13k; Retail +16k; Temp +11k; Leisure and Hospitality -24k
  • Diffusion index roughly unch at 55 (from 55.6)
  • Median duration of unemployment at 21.2 from 20.4; U6 measure at 17% from 17.1%

The income gains generated from this number plus recent equity gains put consumer balance sheets in much better shape; the mix between spending, savings and debt reduction remains to be seen, but the outlook for spending is certainly better than it appeared before today.

So it looks like a 9% budget deficit is sufficient to overcome the drag from the 0 interest rate policy and the size of the Fed’s portfolio to support GDP at modest levels of growth, perhaps just above levels of productivity increases, which means a very modestly improving employment outlook.

But not enough for a meaningful reduction in the output gap, which probably requires a fiscal adjustment like a payroll tax suspension, or a jump in private sector credit expansion via houses and cars.

QE2 will add a bit more drag, but probably not enough to make much difference.

Extending the tax cuts is a positive for demand versus letting them expire.
But that would not be a tax cut, just not a tax hike.

And there’s a chance it would get ‘paid for’ with a spending cut elsewhere, maybe social security or medicare after the sustainability committee reports Dec 1 and scares them all.

Still looks like fear that we might be the next Greece is turning us into the next Japan.

Posted in Deficit, Employment, Government Spending | 22 Comments »

Highlighted comment

Posted by WARREN MOSLER on 5th November 2010

Colin Kendall Says:
November 4th, 2010 at 10:36 am

I am a new convert to the ideas of MMT.

As a British Mensa member, it is quite embarrassing for me to admit that for the first sixty years of my life I believed every one of Warren’s Innocent Frauds.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

QE and the wealth effect

Posted by WARREN MOSLER on 5th November 2010

>   (email exchange)
>   On Thu, Nov 4, 2010 at 11:26 PM, wrote:
>   Do you have any thoughts on this supposed wealth effect?

There is one but I see it as coming from deficit spending, and probably not QE.

Federal deficits support income and add to net financial assets,
which is the financial equity and income that supports the credit structure.

The question is whether QE net adds to nominal wealth via the equity price channel, via ‘valuation’ due to lower long term risk free rates/higher pe’s.

First, the evidence isn’t clear that QE results in higher equity prices, with Japan as the leading example.

Second, there’s the question of whether the maybe 75 billion of annual income- about 1/2% of gdp removed from the private sector- is a stronger force than the valuation benefits of the lower discount rates.

Third, let me suggest that by doing QE on a quantity basis rather than targeting a rate, the change in rates on a ‘bang for the buck’ basis could be a lot lower than if the rate was directly targeted.

Let me give a possible example. Let’s say the Fed simply targeted the 10 year tsy at 2.25%. They would have a bid at that level and buy all the secs the market didn’t want to buy at that level. They may in fact buy a lot or a very few, and possibly none at all, depending on tsy issuance, investor demand, and market expectations. But let’s say for this example they did that and bought a total of $1 T 10 year notes defending the 2.25% level.

Now let’s say that instead, the FOMC had limited the Fed to buying $900 billion. The question then is how high would 10 year notes trade with that $100 billion free to trade at market levels?

What I’m saying is it could be at much higher yields, as the market expectation component of demand does its thing. The yield would simply be the same as if the Tsy had issued $900 billion fewer 10 year notes.

Note that we went for years with no issuance of 30 year t bonds, and 30 years t bond rates on the outstanding bonds did not fall to 0.

Yes, the curve flattened maybe 50 basis points, and steepened again when issuance resumed, but in the scheme of things it was a factor for the macro economy.

In other words, qe, without a rate target, qe might actually reduce rates very little.

It’s all about how much net govt issuance alters the term structure of rates.

So is there a wealth effect?

Yes, but in both directions- removing income lowers it and valuations help it.

And, recognizing QW when done the way they are doing it probably doesn’t reduce rates all that much, the cost of QE in lost income is more likely to be higher than the valuation gains.

Hope this helps!


Looks like it was buy the rumor and then double up on the news.

Either it all sticks or it all unwinds that much more intensely.

Still looks like the latter to me as the notion that QE doesn’t work sinks in. The mood now is there will be QE 3,4,5 or whatever it takes until it does work.

Like the kid in his car seat who keeps turning his toy steering wheel as much as it takes to turn the car.

Posted in Bonds, Equities, Fed | 9 Comments »