I have always contended that the Fed goes about 2 rate increases too far when it comes to the housing market, but of course this time its different (it always is). Housing plays a much bigger role in the economy than ever before. Its been a security blanket during tough economic times. Lets hope the quilt doesn’t unravel, for the economy’s sake.
Liz Rappaport, in her article Advantage: ‘One and Done’ attempts to dissect the Bernanke-led Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) language.
[The FOMC] might focus on the imagery of uncertainty sprinkled through the text, in phrases such as “hard to predict” (the impact of housing price moderation) and “expressed surprise” (that energy prices hadn’t passed through to inflation measures).
There is an increasing chance that the FOMC may pause in its quest to keep inflation in check, without making global markets nervous about inflation. The Fed is worried about tightening too much [MW] before policy changes have had time to take affect.
The fed funds target now stands at 4.75% [AFX] after the central bank put in 15 consecutive rate increases since June, 2004. The market has fully priced in another quarter-point increase to 5% next month.
I think by this point Fed policy has had its desired effect, when it comes to housing. I had read somewhere that changes in the federal funds rate can take as much as 12 months or more to take full effect. Its probably not a bad idea to take a breather and see where this is going. The Fed is walking a fine line between fighting inflation and taking us into a recession.
Tags: Ben Bernanke