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More Fed Talk for Normalization of Fed on Interest Rates

James Bullard, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, was again outlining the case for higher interest rates. If you count the speech from Janet Yellen on Thursday signaling a hike coming late this year, this is the third Fed president in recent days that has talked up a rate-hike scenario.

Bullard already has been vocal that he thinks the Fed should have hiked. That being said, not every Fed president gets a vote on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), and it was Jeffrey Lacker of the Richmond Federal Reserve that was the sole vote to move to hike rates immediately.

Friday morning brought a presentation by Bullard in which he discussed the case for monetary policy normalization. This was during an event co-sponsored by the Global Interdependence Center and by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank.

Bullard’s main reminder, even when rates do rise, is that monetary policy will remain extremely accommodative through the medium term.

Bullard’s full presentation is 35 pages long. Some of the bullet points comments were stated as follows:

  • The market reaction to the decision seems to be that it created rather than reduced global macroeconomic uncertainty.
  • I argued against the decision at the FOMC meeting and I will lay out some of my views here.
  • The commentary around the decision to begin normalization unfortunately took on a binary tone over the summer.
  • It is as if the Fed, upon making a single 25-basis-points move, will suddenly be adopting a restrictive monetary policy.
  • But this is far from the truth.
  • Indeed the Committee has already committed to an exceptionally accommodative monetary policy over the next three years.
  • The case for normalization is simple: The Committee’s goals have essentially been met, but the Committee’s policy settings remain stuck in emergency mode.
  • The Committee is about as close to meeting these objectives as it has ever been in the past 50 years.

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By Jon C. Ogg