Friday, June 30, 2006

Testing the waters?

The Fed, as expected, bumped up short term rates by another 25bps. This was no surprise, however, the language in the statement was decidedly different in tone from previous statements. To me it's quite bizarre. For the previous few weeks, fed officials were out in the media demonizing the evils of inflation and trying to sell their inflation fighting credentials. However, the statement was, in my opinion, much more dovish on inflation than previous ones. Is the fed stuck in it's own connundrum? Obviously the markets have interpreted the statement as a signal from the fed that it is at or near the end of the tightening cycle. This has led to a dollar decline and a pop in gold prices. It seems to me as if the fed wants to stop raising rates so as not to push the economy into a housing led recession. However, the greater risk, probably, is of a dollar crisis. It seems rather obvious that the dollar is receiving support from interest rate differentials, and if the fed stops raising rates, this source of support will diminish. That could cause the dollar to plunge, which could really cause long term rate to rise from a U.S. Treasuries sell off. So it will be interesting to see how the talking heads at the fed disseminate information over the course of the next six weeks. We are told that they are "data driven". But it seems to me the only data that interets them is relative dollar strength. Good luck Ben!

4 Comments:

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