Jackson Hole- comments tomorrow’s speech by Fed Chairman Bernanke

First, I see no public purpose in burning any crude oil to fly the Chairman and his entourage to make any speech.

He could just as easily deliver this one from the steps of the Fed in DC.
Congress should demand a statement of public purpose before endorsing any travel by its agents.

Next is what I expect from the speech.
The short answer is not much.

I don’t see more QE as the purpose of QE is to bring long rates down, and they are already down substantially. And the Fed now has sufficient evidence to confirm that long rates are mainly a function of expectations of future FOMC votes on rate settings.

To that point, when the Fed announced QE, and market participants believed it would spur growth, and therefore FOMC rate hikes somewhere down the road, long rates worked their way higher. And when the Fed ended QE, and market participants believed the economy would be slower to recover, long rates worked their way lower. Not to mention China hates QE and it still looks to me there’s an understanding in place where China allocates reserves to $US as long as the Fed doesn’t do any QE.

The Fed could cut it’s target Fed funds rate, the cost of funds for the banking system, down to 0 and lower that cost of funds by a few basis points. But those few basis points can hardly be expected to have much effect on anything.

It’s not the Fed has run out of bullets, it’s that the Fed has never had any bullets of any consequence.
And with the few it’s fired, it hasn’t realized the odds are the gun has been pointed backwards.
For example, it still looks to me lower rates, if anything, reduce aggregate demand via the interest income channels.

And QE isn’t much other than a tax on the economy, that also removes interest income.

So look for a forecast of modest GDP growth with downside risks, core inflation remaining reasonably firm even as unemployment remains far too high, all of which support continued Fed ‘accommodation’ at current levels.