FT: Bair on Volcker and the Fed

Today, the Financial Times published Sheila Bair’s Opinion piece “The Fed must emulate the tactics of Volcker’s fight against inflation.” Sheila notes that:

  • US Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell has expressed deep admiration for the legendary Paul Volcker, yet Powell is deviating from Volcker’s methods.
  • Volcker fought inflation by restraining growth in money supply to keep monetary policy tight through two recessions to finally beat inflation.
  • For many years, the Fed has unwisely paid little attention to the huge volume of money its accommodative polices have created. It now needs to follow Volcker’s example and attack excess money supply head-on.

We look forward to any comments you might have.

To view the full article:
https://www.ft.com/content/b82082c9-d26a-47a5-8b1a-34121f572645

Sheila Bair is a former chair of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and a senior fellow and Advisory Board member at the Center for Financial Stability.

Barnett on “Why were the Fed’s inflation forecasts so wrong?”

Professor William A. Barnett – CFS director of Advances in Financial and Monetary Measurement (AMFM) – questions “Why were the Fed’s inflation forecasts so wrong?”

He then addresses limitations in the modeling approach at the Federal Reserve and – more importantly – offers ideas for the future.

To view Bill’s opinion piece…
https://www.kansascity.com/opinion/readers-opinion/guest-commentary/article260903877.html

On China’s Financial System and Property Markets: Aliber and Walter

We are delighted to share work presented in recent days by two good friends of the CFS: Robert Z. Aliber and Carl E. Walter.

Carl discussed his forthcoming book The Red Dream: the Chinese Communist Party and the financial deterioration of China. Red Dream analyzes 1) the build-up of leverage throughout the system, 2) how regulators have worked to generate strong performance metrics while sloughing off unwanted assets, 3) the health of the financial system, as well as 4) the present within the context of prior financial stressors in the U.S., Japan and China itself.

Bob offers his latest thoughts on China’s property market, Evergrande, and future economic prospects more broadly. He first discussed these dynamics in the epilogue of the seventh edition of Manias, Panics and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises.

Carl recently served as an independent director of a major Chinese bank. For many years, Carl worked in China, where he last served as JP Morgan’s China COO and CEO of its banking subsidiary. He is now a visiting scholar at the Stanford Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center.

Bob is professor emeritus of International Economics and Finance at the University of Chicago. He has written extensively about the prices of currencies, international investment flows, banking issues, the multinational firm, international monetary arrangements, and financial crises.

To view Carl’s slides on China’s financial system:
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/research/Walter_China_Feb_2022.pdf

To view Bob’s “The Ponzi Bubble in China’s Property Market is Deflating”:
http://www.centerforfinancialstability.org/research/Aliber_China_031122.pdf

As these topics are complex and challenging, we look forward to any comments you might have.

Money in The Wash Post

Congratulations to David J. Lynch at The Washington Post for being the first in a major news outlet, as far as we are aware, to ask the question “why does the Fed ignore the money supply”?

The piece covers much ground, references Bill Barnett’s work as CFS director of Advances in Monetary and Financial Measurement (AMFM), and quotes Steve Hanke, CFS special counsellor and Johns Hopkins professor.

Yet, misconceptions exist. Lynch frames monetarists versus “all but the monetarists” and “conservative critics” versus others. He is correct. Sadly, this is the narrative.

However, CFS Divisia monetary aggregates and liability measures vividly illustrate how Fed policy transmits through the financial system and into the real economy. That’s it. They have been exceedingly helpful at analytically and dispassionately identifying trades and how the economy responds to policy.

CFS monetary data and optimal uses are vehemently non-partisan.

We look forward to any comments you might have.

To view the full article in the Washington Post:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/02/06/federal-reserve-inflation-money-supply/

Fed Gov Waller Discussion

The Center for Financial Stability (CFS) hosted remarks and a discussion with Federal Reserve Board Governor Christopher J. Waller on the economic and monetary outlook on Friday, November 19.

Remarks and the discussion are available at:
https://youtu.be/hQIA4bVFKXw

Thanks also to Howard Marks, John Ryding, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Colin Teichholtz, Nick Sargen, Colby Smith, Nick Silitch, Lisa Lee, Bruce Tuckman, and Jeff Young for excellent questions.

Discussion with Fed Gov Waller on Economic and Monetary Outlook

The Center for Financial Stability (CFS) will host remarks and a discussion with Federal Reserve Board Governor Christopher J. Waller.  Governor Waller will focus on the economic and monetary outlook.

Prior to his appointment at the Board, Chris served as executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis since 2009.  In addition to his experience in the Federal Reserve System, he served as a professor and the Gilbert F. Schaefer Chair of Economics at the University of Notre Dame.

Date:  Friday, November 19, 2021
Time:  Program begins promptly at 10:45 a.m. and ends at 12:00 p.m.

Remarks and discussion will be live streamed and can be viewed later at: https://youtu.be/hQIA4bVFKXw

Today’s WSJ: “How the Fed Rigs the Bond Market”

Today, The Wall Street Journal published my op-ed titled “How the Fed Rigs the Bond Market.”  Themes include:

High inflation should no longer be surprising, nor should it be labeled “transitory.” Its existence should prompt serious reflection on policy decisions and spur action to avoid a financial crisis.

The big issue is financial stability.

– The U.S. Treasury bond market has been rigged and manipulated since the Federal Reserve’s second quantitative-easing program began in 2010. The consequence of this blurred line between Fed and Treasury responsibilities—”monetizing the debt”—is inflation.

– Sales by the infamous “bond vigilantes” used to serve as a warning of inflationary policies. The signal has been muted.

The op-ed offers specific actions for Congress, Treasury, and the Fed to defuse imbalances and gradually restore market dynamics to the determination of bond yields.

We look forward to any comments you might have.

To view the full article:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-the-fed-rigs-the-bond-market-inflation-yields-financial-crisis-treasury-11637165868

Thoughts on inflation

This morning, Bloomberg’s John Authors said it well “We have October’s inflation numbers, and they were bad. Indeed, they were worse than the worst fears, with U.S. CPI exceeding the highest estimates provided by economists to Bloomberg. When you go below the surface, they’re even more troubling than they look.”

Macro and financial market analysis often includes a bit of guesswork. However, there are certain mathematical forces of nature in markets, economics, and debt management that are frequently ignored. Money, the government’s budget constraint, and the resulting seigniorage tax are among them.

Under the leadership of Professor William A. Barnett, the Center for Financial Stability (CFS) has provided many tools for investors and officials to reduce the probability of errors in making meaningful decisions.

Here are a few to help frame the new debate around what John Authors suggests is “how long it will last.”

Two Measures for the Fed and Investors
https://centerforfinancialstability.org/research/Measures_Fed_110221.pdf
Inflation Fears Offers the Fed a Chance to Modernize with Money
https://centerforfinancialstability.org/research/Modernize_Money_042621.pdf
Post-Pandemic Economic Risks
https://centerforfinancialstability.org/research/Post_Pandemic_Economic_Risks_050521.pdf
Advances in Monetary and Financial Measurement (AMFM)
https://centerforfinancialstability.org/amfm_data.php

We look forward to any comments you might have.

Two Measures for the Fed and Investors

With inflation in excess of 5% in each of the last 5 months, two measures would have been helpful for the Fed and investors in prior months. To be sure, they should influence Fed and investor decisions going forward.

They include

  • Center for Financial Stability (CFS) Divisia M4-,
  • Global inflation diffusion indexes that analyze price and expectation signals in 49 countries.

To view the two measures:
https://centerforfinancialstability.org/research/Measures_Fed_110221.pdf

We look forward to any comments you might have.