Monday, March 7, 2011

(#Fed) Good Fed, Bad Fed Routine Again: Lockhart vs Fisher

It's getting soooo tired, but they continue to do it. Today's match up? Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart vs Dallas Fed's Richard Fisher.

First, Lockhart. In summary, he is all for QE3 because of skyrocketing oil price. So, he thinks that flooding the world with more US fiat money will somehow help calm the price of oil. It doesn't make sense (it will be the opposite), but why should he care? He's not a voting member of FOMC. His price point: oil at $150. From CNN Money via Yahoo:

If oil prices continue to climb, it could force the Federal Reserve to make a new round of asset purchases, according to Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart.

Appearing at the National Association of Business Economics in Arlington, Va., Lockhart said that while he doesn't think additional purchases are currently warranted, more stimulus could be needed if oil prices continue to climb.

"If [the rising price of oil] plays through to the broad economy in a way that portends a recession, I would take a position we would respond with more accommodation," Lockhart said at the conference.

Though he doesn't think current oil prices around $106 a barrel are a problem, he said the evidence is clear that oil spikes can bring about a recession.

"I think at the $120 range ... it's a manageable level," he said. "Around $150 it becomes a much more serious concern."

Now, on to Fisher, who IS a voting member of FOMC. He says he may vote to stop QE2 early. Not that one No vote matters... From WSJ:

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--A top Federal Reserve official Monday said he may vote to stop the U.S. central bank's bond-purchase program before the June deadline if he feels it's threatening the U.S. economy.

Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, a long-time skeptic of the program, said it may hurt job-creation by raising inflation expectations and giving the impression that the central bank is willing to finance the government's growing public debt.

Impression? Such an understatement. Fisher goes on to say that US dollar hasn't lost a "flight to safety" status. It's impossible to imagine a Fed president not having seen the chart of US dollar index these days, but that's what he says:

Fisher dismissed a banker's question about whether the U.S. dollar is losing its flight-to-quality status, saying the greenback benefits from safe harbor flows in times of crisis.

Okay.... I guess Fisher's crisis is going to be so much bigger than what's been brewing in North Africa and Middle East, and the flight to safety hasn't happened.


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