Time for Fed to Come out of Closet

Now that the Fed is in the unconventional zone of monetary policy with Fed funds effectively at zero why not hold a press conference after the FOMC meeting today to explain what measures the Fed is taking to provide stimulus to the economy as traditional monetary policy is used up and not having any measureable impact.

Now that the Fed is in the unconventional zone of monetary policy with Fed funds effectively at zero why not hold a press conference after the FOMC meeting today to explain what measures the Fed is taking to provide stimulus to the economy as traditional monetary policy is used up and not having any measureable impact.

 

Bernanke and others who have looked into unconventional (or nonconventional) monetary policy have stressed the need to be transparent and use the power of the pulpit to explain monetary policy and counter deflation psychology (clearly has arrived in spades). If much of the current malaise is being driven by a loss of confidence among consumers, firms and investors, why not have the Fed come out of its closet of secrecy and talk to the world about what it is up to? Recalls a Few Good Men and “you can’t handle the truth.” Or more aptly the Wizard of Oz…get behind the screen and then the worrying really starts…the Fed does not know a lot more than the rest of us.

 

I did find it noteworthy that after the last FOMC meeting and issue of the statement a senior Fed official held a conference call with about a dozen journalists (print, wire and TV) and only took questions from reporters…a first. I don’t know which Fed official was on the line but I would bet my deflated assets it was either Bernanke or Kohn. So the Fed is clearly moving out of the closet of secrecy now that it has crossed into a parallel universe of unconventional monetary policy called credit easing (not to be confused with quantitative easing which the BOJ sullied).

 

So how about it Ben…conduct a press conference today to show the world the Fed is all in on the banking and economic crises or as President Obama likes to say economic emergency (Bush administration decided late in Q4 of 2008 to drop the glass is spilling over view of the crisis but never called the problems a crisis or emergency).

 

I am not counting on a press conference today, but at the very least look for another conference call with the press after the statement is out to take questions and clarify any confusion over credit easing steps – presumably there will be new measures announced today (see Tuesday’s email). My sense is that the Obama administration is not of the opinion that the Fed is out of ammo and more importantly should be quiet as a church mouse on communicating unconventional monetary policy ahead. If my hunch is right about a fresh shock and awe campaign from the Fed today is right, and it involves things most of us are unfamiliar with (anything beyond a change in Fed funds target), then it is crucial the Fed gets in front of the public and explains itself…something a few sentences in an FOMC statement can’t possibly address.

 

David Gilmore
 

Foreign Exchange Analytics has it's roots in both the emerging information technologies and the global economy that characterized the last two decades.  As currency transaction volumes soared in the wake of the 1985 Plaza accord, the need for timely concise information on what forces were driving and would drive exchange rates became critical.   David Gilmore was one of a new breed of analyst that saw a void of relevant, market moving... More