The Federal Reserve delivered another 75 basis point interest rate hike at its July FOMC meeting. This pushes the federal funds rate over the 2% threshold to between 2.25% and 2.5%.
The mainstream media emphasized the size of the hike. One headline called it “a second super-sized hike,” with many other mainstream pundits noting that it matched a June hike was the biggest since 1994. But it wasn’t as big as the full 1% hike everybody thought was on the table after we got June’s flaming hot Consumer Price Index (CPI) data.
Here’s the question: has the Fed reached the end of its rope? Will this be the last hike in this cycle?
Earlier this week, Lael Brainard said the Federal Reserve will run off its balance sheet at a considerably more rapid pace than it did last time around. SchiffGold Friday Gold Wrap host Mike Maharrey thinks Brainard and the rest of the Fed officials suffer from delusions of grandeur if they think they can really pull this off. In this episode, he explains exactly why balance sheet reduction is doomed to fail.
Earlier this week, Federal Reserve governor and vice-chair nominee Lael Brainard indicated the central bank will shrink its balance sheet at a “considerably” more rapid pace than it did during the previous cycle. I, Peter Schiff and a few others outside the mainstream have said the Fed won’t be able to do this.
The Federal Reserve released the minutes from the December FOMC meeting on Thursday (Jan. 5) and the markets freaked once again at the prospect of monetary tightening. The minutes seem to indicate an even more abrupt shift to tighter monetary policy to fight inflation. But I have questions.
It looks like the Federal Reserve is about to get back into the bond business and help the US government deal with its massive debt.
The Treasury Department announced yesterday that it will not have to borrow as much money in the third quarter of fiscal 2019 as originally anticipated. But this is not because of a slowdown in government spending. According to a Treasury official cited by Reuters, the reason for the lower borrowing estimate is due to an anticipated increase in Fed Treasury holdings as the central bank ends its balance sheet reduction program.
All of a sudden, the Federal Reserve is considering increasing its balance sheet again.
Remember back in September? QE was on “autopilot.” Then we got the “Powell Pause” and suddenly, the talk was that balance sheet reduction could be winding down. Powell confirmed that was the case just a couple of weeks ago when he told a congressional panel the central bank would be in a position to “to stop runoff later this year.”
After weeks of hinting, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell confirmed that the central bank will end its balance sheet reduction program this year. This just five months after insisting quantitative tightening was on “autopilot.”
“We’ve worked out, I think, the framework of a plan that we hope to be able to announce soon that will light the way all the way to the end of balance sheet normalization,” Powell said during testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.