Posts filed under “Federal Reserve”
Earlier this week, we brought to your attention "A World of (mostly) Flattening Yield Curves."
"But there are signs that the United States no longer has a monopoly on the conundrum. In recent months, the yield curves in Japan and Germany, the second- and third-largest economies in the world, have been flattening, while the yield curve in Britain has already inverted. "Long-term interest rates are even lower in Europe and Japan than they are in the U.S.," said Kenneth Rogoff, a professor of economics at Harvard.
Yet these economies lack some of the structural features of the United States economy. And each is at a different phase in the business cycle. While America may very likely have a slowdown in growth in the second half of this year, Mr. Rogoff says, Europe and Japan are likely to gain economic strength as the year progresses.
"The conundrum is global," said Lakshman Achuthan, managing director at the Economic Cycle Research Institute, based in New York. The same factors that are influencing the interest rate climate in the United States are having similar effects on overseas bond markets."
Of course, no discussion of Yield Curve flattenings or inversions would be complete without a graphic:
click for larger graphic
courtesy of NYT
I will point out that these curves are not as flat as the ones Panzner created, using the 2 and the 10 year Treasuries. (Dan, what duration are the treasuries used for the NYT charts?)
UPDATE: January 9, 2005 5:58am
I somehow missed the legend at bottom — The NYT chart show the full yield curve for the entire maturity (3 months outward), versus our prior chart showing the spreads between two and 10 year maturities over time.
The World Isn’t Flat, but Its Yield Curve May Be
NYT, January 8, 2006
The Federal Reserve, as expected raised interest rates for the
13th consecutive time Tuesday, lifting the federal-funds rate by a quarter
percentage point to 4.25%. The central bank suggested it would raise rates
again, but also hinted that it is less certain on its future rate actions than
it has been in over a year. In the accompanying statement, the Fed said growth
remained "solid", inflation excluding food and energy prices had "stayed
relatively low," and inflation expectations were contained. But it also warned
that the possibility of further erosion of spare productive capacity and high
energy prices "have the potential to add to inflation pressures."
economists and other analysts make of the changes? Here’s a sample of their
* * *
The Fed has finally taken the step that we have been
pointing to for a while, in separating the two concepts of reaching neutrality
and finishing the rate cycle. They kept "measured," as we thought they might,
but now it refers to "some further measured policy firming" as opposed to
removing accommodation at a measured rate. So, rather than being on automatic
pilot in raising rates toward neutral, the FOMC now sees itself in the second
stage of the rate hike cycle — further moves will be perceived by Fed officials
as taking policy toward a restrictive stance.
– Stephen Stanley, RBS
* * *
The message from the FOMC appears to be that barring a
major change in the tone of economic data, another 25bp tightening move will be
implemented at Chairman Greenspan’s last meeting on January 31. At that time, it
is quite possible that the "measured phrase" will be jettisoned, leaving
incoming Chairman Ben Bernanke with a clean slate for the next meeting on March
28. Our own view remains that the evidence concerning economic growth should be
sufficiently strong in coming months to spur another three 25bp tightening
moves, lifting the Fed funds target to 5.00% in the second quarter of the year.
We think that growth will then be moderating sufficiently for the FOMC to cease
tightening, even if core inflation drifts up mildly from its current
– Joshua Shapiro, Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc.
* * *
The Fed announced: "Core inflation has stayed relatively
low in recent months and longer-term inflation expectations remain contained."
Quite frankly, we do not believe them. We know that beyond the rises in food and
energy prices, nearly everything — from healthcare to building materials to
education costs to insurance to commodities — costs more. And gold, the world’s
best inflation indicator, is well over $500 per ounce. Where ever we look, we
see evidence that prices have limited stability and an upward bias.
Barry Ritholtz, Maxim Group
* * *