All eyes will focus on the Federal Reserve as it wraps up its June meeting. But it’s important to remember the Fed isn’t the only game in town. Moves by the European Central Bank also have a significant impact on the global economy (and the gold market) and it has taken a decidedly dovish turn.
Most analysts expect the Fed to hold interest rates steady in June, but potentially set the stage for a July rate cut. (Although Jim Grant said he thinks the Fed will actually cut this month.)
Jim Grant recently appeared on the Santelli Exchange on CNBC and the conversation quickly turned to this notion that “intellectuals” have the wherewithal to run the economy. Friday Gold Wrap host Mike Maharrey recently explained two very important economic principles that make it impossible for central planners to ever truly succeed. As he put it, they might be smart, but they aren’t smart enough to know they’re not smart enough. Nevertheless, this doesn’t seem to dampen the fatal conceit and hubris of central bankers who think they can micromanage a complex economy.
Grant put it another way. He called it the ignorance that knows not it’s ignorant.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell appeared on 60 Minutes last Sunday to reassure us that the US economy is great. There’s nothing to worry about. So, why the sudden reversal in Fed monetary policy? According to Powell, the central bank is just worried about slowing global growth. But as Mike Maharrey discusses in this week’s Friday Gold Wrap, it’s pretty clear the real problems are right here in the good ol’ US of A. Mike also covers the latest in precious metals news, with a focus on silver.
Janet Yellen and company pretty much followed the script during last week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting, raising interest rates another .25 percent and signaling three rate hikes in 2018.
We tend to focus primarily on Federal Reserve actions, but it’s important to remember the Fed isn’t the only central bank game in town. While it nudges interest rates slowly upward, the European Central Bank is standing pat on economic stimulus. And there’s no indication that is going to change in the near future.
Central bank quantitative easing is a little like a zombie. It dies – but it never really dies.
There’s been a lot of focus on the Federal Reserve raising interest rates and unwinding its balance sheet. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the Fed isn’t the only game in town. While most people consider QE dead and buried in the US, it remains alive and kicking in other parts of the world.
Yesterday, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced it would extend its bond-buying program deep into 2018, continuing the flow of easy money into the European Union. ECB President Mario Draghi said the central bank would cut its bond purchases in half beginning in January, a faint hint at eventual normalization. But the central bank president left the door open to backtracking.
Americans tend to focus on the Federal Reserve, but often forget the US central bank isn’t the only game in town.
While Yellen and company hint they will try to continue pushing interest rates up, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi told European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs committee he intends to push ahead with his interventionist monetary policy. That means continued negative interest rates and quantitative easing for the EU.
So, are the world’s two largest central banks taking divergent paths to doom?