Saturday, March 21, 2015

Goldman: "The Path to Exit"

by Bill McBride on 3/21/2015 09:05:00 AM

A few excerpts from a research piece by Goldman Sachs economist Kris Dawsey: The Path to the Exit

The March FOMC statement and “dot plot” were more dovish than the market expected. The probability of a September hike looks much higher than a June hike, with a risk that the first hike could be pushed even later. Despite this week’s events, the Fed is busily planning how it will lift off from the zero lower bound when the time comes  ...

We think that the most likely outcome for the first hike is an increase in the target range to 25 to 50 basis points (from 0 to 25 basis points currently). Although not likely, there is an outside chance that the Fed could decide to start with a “mini” hike. Once the first hike occurs, the Fed probably has sufficient tools to ensure that the effective fed funds rate trades within—but likely in the bottom half of—the target range most of the time.

Despite the Fed’s guidance that interest paid on excess reserves (IOER) will be the primary tool for firming rates, we think that the Committee will significantly increase the cap on the overnight RRP (O/N RRP) facility around the time of the first hike as an insurance policy. ... In our view, flexibility with regard to tactics and a process of “learning by doing” will probably be key features of the early part of the exit.

Sometime after the first hike the Fed will allow its balance sheet to begin shrinking, resulting in a gradual increase in the term premium. ... Our forecast for the start of portfolio runoff is 2016 Q1, with risk skewed toward a later date, and we think that the initial step will probably be a switch to a policy of partial reinvestment. Although the Fed has stated that asset sales are not part of its normalization plan at this time, it is possible to imagine scenarios which could push the Fed in this direction.