Sunday, July 08, 2012

Fed Speak and a few Key Fed Dates

by Bill McBride on 7/08/2012 06:22:00 PM

There is a renewed focus on the Fed following the weak employment report for June.

First, on Friday, Jon Hilsenrath wrote at the WSJ: Weak Report Lifts Chance of Fed Action

Friday's disappointing jobs report increases the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will launch a new bond-buying program to boost economic growth, though it doesn't ensure such a move.
The central bank's more activist camp believes more action is already justified because the economy isn't making progress toward reducing unemployment and inflation is low. Its hawkish wing, which worries more about inflation and which has been skeptical of the central bank's responses to financial crisis and recession, accepts that more action might be needed but wants to hold it in reserve for serious threats like recession or deflation.

Some Fed officials in the middle don't have as high a bar to action as the hawks but are waiting to see if the outlook deteriorates anymore. "I am more leaning toward the view further action would be a response to deteriorating conditions and a deteriorating outlook," Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires last month.
Dennis Lockhart is a voting member of the FOMC and he speaks this week to the Mississippi Economic Council on Friday at 1:20 PM ET. As Hilsenrath notes, Lockhart is in the "middle", and his speech will be analyzed to see if he is moving towards QE3.

Note: On Monday, FOMC voting member San Francisco Fed President John Willams will speak at 11:55 AM in Idaho, and on Wednesday the minutes from the FOMC meeting of June 19-20, 2012 will be released.

The following week, on July 17th, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify before the Senate Banking Committee, and on July 18th he will testify House Financial Services Committee. The next FOMC meeting is on July 31st and August 1st.

The key piece of economic data to be released before the next FOMC meeting is the Q2 advance GDP report on Friday, July 27th. Right now this report is expected to show GDP growth of around 1.5% annualized in Q2.

Some analysts think the Fed will wait for more data, so they think August 1st is too soon for QE3. Still the debate about QE3 will pickup over the next few weeks.

Summary for Week Ending July 6th
Schedule for Week of July 8th

And on Employment:
June Employment Report: 80,000 Jobs, 8.2% Unemployment Rate
Employment: Another Weak Report (more graphs)
Percent Job Losses: Great Recession and Great Depression
All Employment Graphs