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Tag Archives: Ben Bernanke

Former Fed Chair Says Restricting Central Bank’s Lending Power is a ‘Mistake’

Two additional requirements imposed by the Bailout Prevention Act on the Fed's broad-based lending programs are, according to Bernanke: first, requiring a firm's solvency to be certified by the Fed and the supervisors of the firm before receiving any loans; and second, requiring emergency loan interest rates to be at least 5 percentage points higher than the Treasury Department's rate.

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FOMC Moves Forward on Tapering

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted on Wednesday to scale back the Federal Reserve's bond-buying program. The cut—the second one in as many months—will see total monthly asset purchases coming down to $65 billion. While December's weak employment report led some to believe there might be a pause in the taper, the committee waved it off in light of other, more positive indicators.

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Fed to Begin Tapering Asset Purchases

In its final meeting of 2013, the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to begin dialing back its asset purchase program in January. The committee agreed to scale back its purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to a pace of $35 billion per month; at the same time, purchases of Treasury securities will shrink to $40 billion per month. Together, the cuts represent an overall reduction of $10 billion in purchases each month.

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Fannie Mae Foresees Market Volatility in Coming Months

In the aftermath of the federal government shutdown and contentious debt ceiling negotiations, Fannie Mae predicts continued market volatility for at least the next few months. Consumer sentiment toward the economy and the housing market wavered last month, and the expects that to continue into the new year despite low mortgage rates and robust annual home price gains.

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1st Time Jobless Claims Continue to Drop

Continuing the drop in first time claims for unemployment insurance, initial filings fell 5,000 for the week ended September 21 to 305,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists had expected the number of claims to jump up to 330,000, from the 309,000 originally reported for the week ended September 14.

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Commentary: Whither the Fed

What's up with the Fed? The venerable, usually media-shy central bank came in for more than its share of attention in the past week and has no one to blame but itself. It started with the withdrawal of Larry Summers as a candidate to replace Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke who, by the way, has not said he's leaving. Then came the conclusion of a two-day, closed-door policy meeting that defied all market expectations.

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No Change in FOMC Policy; Slower Growth

While noting improvement in economic activity and labor market conditions, the Federal Open Market Committee voted Wednesday to continue its policy of near-zero interest rates and its $85-billion-per-month bond-buying program. At the same time, the Fed’s own economic projections suggested the economy might not grow this year as fast as it expected just three months ago.

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Commentary: Summers Time?

With Ben Bernanke set to leave his post as Federal Reserve chairman next January, we could be set for a history-making appointment. Lawrence Summers' appointment would appear to be justified looking solely at his resume, but it was at Harvard he may have shown his true colors. Janet Yellen is considered a ""dove"" on the Federal Open Market Committee--more concerned with unemployment than inflation and thus less likely to press for higher interest rates.

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Commentary: Solving the Wrong Problem

President Obama is trying to solve the wrong problem by calling, as he did in his speech in Phoenix, for the end of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as we know it. To be sure, Fannie and Freddie were not the hallmarks of responsibility in the mortgage meltdown, but have gotten a bad rap. For all their housing expertise, they missed all the signals of the housing bubble (but then again so did Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and his successor Ben S. Bernanke who dismissed it when the first signs of the meltdown emerged). Instead of suggesting replacing Fannie and Freddie to restore the nation's housing markets, the president should be proposing to return them to their original charters.

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