by Bill McBride on 2/24/2009 10:20:00 AM
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
From Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke: Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress
In their economic projections for the January FOMC meeting, monetary policy makers substantially marked down their forecasts for real GDP this year relative to the forecasts they had prepared in October. The central tendency of their most recent projections for real GDP implies a decline of 1/2 percent to 1-1/4 percent over the four quarters of 2009. These projections reflect an expected significant contraction in the first half of this year combined with an anticipated gradual resumption of growth in the second half. The central tendency for the unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2009 was marked up to a range of 8-1/2 percent to 8-3/4 percent. Federal Reserve policymakers continued to expect moderate expansion next year, with a central tendency of 2-1/2 percent to 3-1/4 percent growth in real GDP and a decline in the unemployment rate by the end of 2010 to a central tendency of 8 percent to 8-1/4 percent. FOMC participants marked down their projections for overall inflation in 2009 to a central tendency of 1/4 percent to 1 percent, reflecting expected weakness in commodity prices and the disinflationary effects of significant economic slack. The projections for core inflation also were marked down, to a central tendency bracketing 1 percent. Both overall and core inflation are expected to remain low over the next two years.
This outlook for economic activity is subject to considerable uncertainty, and I believe that, overall, the downside risks probably outweigh those on the upside. One risk arises from the global nature of the slowdown, which could adversely affect U.S. exports and financial conditions to an even greater degree than currently expected. Another risk derives from the destructive power of the so-called adverse feedback loop, in which weakening economic and financial conditions become mutually reinforcing. To break the adverse feedback loop, it is essential that we continue to complement fiscal stimulus with strong government action to stabilize financial institutions and financial markets. If actions taken by the Administration, the Congress, and the Federal Reserve are successful in restoring some measure of financial stability--and only if that is the case, in my view--there is a reasonable prospect that the current recession will end in 2009 and that 2010 will be a year of recovery.
Posted by Bill McBride on 2/24/2009 10:20:00 AM