Friday, July 17, 2009

Fed Losing Control Over Monetary Policy

At the Fed’s most recent monetary policy meeting, two Governors disagreed with the decision to hold rates constant, voting instead to hike rates by .25%. The most noteworthy aspect of the meeting was not the presence of dissent, but rather its irrelevance; it underscored that the Fed has been reduced to playing a largely symbolic role in the determination of American monetary policy. As the Fed cut rates aggressively over the last year, credit markets simultaneously witnessed a tightening of credit conditions. In other words, investors deliberately ignored the actions of the Fed, and market-clearing interest rates remained well above the rates "suggested" by the Fed. Some commentators have connected this to the recent rally in the Dollar, which would have been expected to plummet given such low interest rates. Barron’s reports:
The credit cycle will progress with or without central bankers. If their rhetoric convinces investors of the Fed’s probity, it’s all to the good. But market forces are far stronger, and they’re what should be watched.

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