Judgment from the United States Court of Federal Claims on the AIG lawsuit:
Section 13(3) did not authorize the Federal Reserve Bank to acquire a borrower’s equity as consideration for the loan…Moreover, there is nothing in the Federal Reserve Act or in any other federal statute that would permit a Federal Reserve Bank to take over a private corporation and run its business as if the Government were the owner. Yet, that is precisely what FRBNY did.
It is one thing for FRBNY to have made an $85 billion loan to AIG at exorbitant interest rates under Section 13(3), but it is quite another to direct the replacement of AIG’s Chief Executive Officer, and to take control of AIG’s business operations. A Federal Reserve Bank has no right to control and run a company to whom it has made a sizable loan.
It’s from Michael Hartnett, of BoA Merrill Lynch, but you probably would have guessed that if asked.
My Big, Fat Greek Dreading (and other risks)
To the upside: concerns over Greece prove misplaced, investors over-hedge Fed risks, passage of TPP boost investor & corporate confidence, tech’s creative disruption = higher PE, lower CPI. To the downside: inflation surprises to upside.
Hartnett doesn’t have much to add specifically on Greece, other than this intriguing chart. Read more
It might not be polite to say it overtly, but concerns are growing that the Fed’s rate hiking promises may be nothing more than a big bluff.
The vogue for doubting Fed rhetoric started in earnest on March 11, when Ray Dalio, founder of hedge fund firm Bridgewater Associates, wrote to investors that there was a risk if the Fed raised rates too fast it could create a market rout similar to that of 1937. Read more
We know there’s been a great deal of change on the asset-side of banks’ balance sheets since the crisis. But if you ever wanted it summed up in one table, look no further than the following:
Eric Rosengren, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, gave a speech in Frankfurt on Thursday arguing that the Fed’s full employment mandate gave the central bank more flexibility to be aggressive earlier, and that open-ended programmes that are tied to economic targets are more effective than purchases of predetermined size and duration.
Nothing novel there. But his speech also contained, perhaps inadvertently, some interesting arguments that the rounds of bond-buying after the acute phase of the financial crisis did little for the real economy. (We covered the tenuous relationship between asset purchase programmes and inflation here.) Read more
Narayana Kocherlakota, president of the Minneapolis Fed, today announced he will step down in 2016.
“Earlier this week, I informed the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis that I do not intend to seek reappointment to a new term as president of the Bank after my current term ends on February 29, 2016,” Kocherlakota said. “I became president of the Minneapolis Bank in October 2009 so that I could be of service to my country in an economic emergency.
I have been honored to play a role in shaping the response to that dire situation. While challenges lie ahead for the Federal Reserve System, the state of crisis has passed, and I have decided not to continue my service into a new term.”
It is rather early to announce a 2016 departure but Mr Kocherlakota had made his decision. “I think once he had made up his mind and informed the board we thought it was good governance to announce it,” said Randall Hogan, chairman of the Minneapolis Fed board. Mr Hogan said the board is not launching an immediate search process, implying Mr Kocherlakota will indeed serve out his term, which runs until February 2016. Read more
CreditSights points out today that changes in gross ECB liquidity provided to the euro area’s banking sector closely track changes in 10 year Bund yields:
Could unexpectedly low levels of Treasury yields, pushed down by monetary policy in Europe and Japan, lead the Fed to raise interest rates earlier and faster than it otherwise would? That’s the prospect raised by an intriguing and important speech today by New York Fed president William Dudley. He makes dovish arguments about when rates should lift off, but forecasts they actually will rise by mid-2015, in line with consensus. He then breaks new ground by suggesting the pace of rate rises will depend on how financial markets respond to them.
(1) Dudley is dovish… Read more
If analyst comments in our inbox are anything to go by, the latest FOMC minutes, released on Wednesday, provided nothing much to write home about. Everything revealed was pretty much as expected.
One thing did prompt our eyebrows to raise, however. More on that below, but first here’s some of the reaction. Stephen Lewis at Monument Securities wrote:
The minutes of the FOMC meeting on 28-29 October sprang few surprises. Compared with earlier meetings, FOMC members gave more prominence to the risks stemming from worsening conditions elsewhere in the world but ‘many participants’ expected the impact of foreign developments on US growth to be limited.
Paul Krugman commented this week that despite all the talk about imminent rates raises, the Fed doesn’t actually have much reason to raise rates just yet.
Or as he put it:
And as usual, I wonder why anyone is talking about this at all. Yes, unemployment has fallen. But there is huge ambiguity about what level of unemployment is sustainable given changing demography, the uncertain degree to which people might return to the work force given better job availability, and so on.
Though, none of that has stopped the Fed from slyly tinkering with the rates it offers on its still experimental Term-Deposit Facility. Read more
With the end of QE, just a quick chart to reiterate that central bank bond buying doesn’t work the way one might expect.
Far from reducing bond yields, when the Federal Reserve buys bonds, it tends to make yields go up. Equally, when it stops – or says it will stop, or tapers – the yield goes down. Read more
The Fed’s balance sheet is no longer in expansion mode, which means it’s time for post-mortems of the most recent asset purchase programme. (Our colleague John Authers has a very good round-up of what did and didn’t happen since QE3 began.)
We want to focus on the fact that the most recent round of bond-buying seemed to have no inflationary impact. If anything, an observer of the data who had no preconceptions about monetary policy operations would conclude that QE3 was disinflationary. Alphaville writers have been exploring this possibility for years (though without firm conclusions).
Let’s start by looking at the changes in actual inflation since the start of 2010. Read more