Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Fed's view

It is axiomatic when analyzing the Federal Reserve's opinion of their management of short-term interest rates (the price of Federal Funds), one must attempt to determine which factors the Fed over or under weights in their view of the economy.  

To that extent, the REcapitulator submits these words from Mr. Bernanke in his Humphrey-Hawkings testimony from 2/14/07:

Overall, the U.S. economy seems likely to expand at a moderate pace this year and next, with growth strengthening somewhat as the drag from housing diminishes. Such an outlook is reflected in the projections that the members of the Board of Governors and presidents of the Federal Reserve Banks made around the time of the FOMC meeting late last month. The central tendency of those forecasts--which are based on the information available at that time and on the assumption of appropriate monetary policy--is for real GDP to increase about 2-1/2 to 3 percent in 2007 and about 2-3/4 to 3 percent in 2008. The projection for GDP growth in 2007 is slightly lower than our projection last July. This difference partly reflects an expectation of somewhat greater weakness in residential construction during the first part of this year than we anticipated last summer. The civilian unemployment rate is expected to finish both 2007 and 2008 around 4-1/2 to 4-3/4 percent.

The risks to this outlook are significant. To the downside, the ultimate extent of the housing market correction is difficult to forecast and may prove greater than we anticipate. Similarly, spillover effects from developments in the housing market onto consumer spending and employment in housing-related industries may be more pronounced than expected. To the upside, output may expand more quickly than expected if consumer spending continues to increase at the brisk pace seen in the second half of 2006.

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