Who Loves Ya, Baby? The Federal Reserve

Today, the language of the Federal Reserve was the language of love.

The fields of finance and economics, while often interesting to their own natives, can seem the enemy of lightness and happiness to everyone else - a leaden, desolate landscape of people who like to read and argue about really dense term papers on impenetrable subjects. 

So it's particularly nice when the financial world - particularly the bow-tie-plagued universe of economists - lets their inner wit come out and play. That's what happened today when the economist Justin Wolfers started a new Twitter craze combining his favorite field of study with an event impending on the calendar: Yes, Fed Valentines.

There have been ample roundups of the cheeky contributions, from The New York Times, Freakonomics, The Wall Street Journal and...the Wall Street Journal some more.

But one important group of Fed Valentine tweeters have been largely unacknowledged: The best #FedValentines tweets were from various branches of the Federal Reserve itself. The San Francisco Fed, Philadelphia Fed and Atlanta Fed all got in on the action. These were brilliantly entertaining to everyone else not because they were funnier - though they're pretty good - but because they're straight from the source. (Or at least, a staffer with access to the Twitter account.)

Far from their usual wonky, dignified tweets, the various Fed branches let loose, to the delight of many tweeters. Who knew the Fed could party like this? Below, I've compiled the regional-Fed tweets with a little bit of context: their nerdy, passionately macroeconomic tweets before and after this one crazy time when they loosened their bow ties and busted a 140-character move.

San Francisco Federal Reserve

Before Fed Valentines:

@SFFedReserve: Pulse Index: 1/12: 0.3% (1m,annualized), 1.9% (12m), 16.9% (1m,historical)

During Fed Valentines:

@SFFedReserve: My love is elastic, my commitment too big to fail

@SFFedReserve: I'm going to extraordinary measures to increase your stimulus

@SFFedReserve: FB Poll: If you could get any what would it be? Candy? Roses? Shredded cash?

After Fed Valentines:

Friday: Hourly Examiner, 225931; Research Assoc, 225908; Research Analyst, 225907

Atlanta Federal Reserve

Before Fed Valentines:

@AtlantaFed: SE continues to strengthen, recent data indicate. SouthPoint examines new information

During Fed Valentines:

@AtlantaFed: Being with you hikes my pulse by several basis points

@AtlantaFed: I long for you as the economy longs for its long-run maximum potential

After Fed Valentines:

@AtlantaFed: What do inventory levels say about economic activity? Macroblog examines recent data to clarify

 

Philadelphia Federal Reserve

Before Fed Valentines:

@PhiladelphiaFed: Forecasters see a 9.5% chance of a downturn in the 1st QTR, down from the 16.6% they saw 3 months ago. $Fed, $Data

During Fed Valentines:

@PhiladelphiaFed: My love: you increase my interest & never diminish my returns.

@PhiladelphiaFed: The Fed loves you through & through.

@PhiladelphiaFed: Love me Tender. I have no cents when it comes to you!

@PhiladelphiaFed: Her deviations are never standard, her probabilities never mean.

@PhiladelphiaFed: Housing a whole lotta love for you. Mortgage me but don’t default, baby!

@PhiladelphiaFed: My initial projections never forecast someone like you would be in my next quarter.

@PhiladelphiaFed: My heart is full; my thoughts transparent. Credible is my love for you.

@PhiladelphiaFed: My objective is explicit: to love you worlds more than 2%.

@PhiladelphiaFed: There’s no economy in my love for you! My heart doth labor at maximum capacity.

Richmond Federal Reserve

Before Fed Valentines:

@RichFedResearch: Could contingent capital -- debt that converts to equity -- help banks in distress?

During Fed Valentines:

: Productivity down due to greater than expected

:Your equation is deriving me crazy

After Fed Valentines:

Nothing. The Richmond Fed's last tweet on Friday night was a Fed valentine. So romantic.

Chicago Federal Reserve

Before Fed Valentines:

data: A picture is worth 1000 words. Data since 1973, chart back to 2002. $fed

@ChicagoFed: #fedvalentines is poetry in motion!

After Fed Valentines:

@ChicagoFed# bank for w/e 02/01: Total bank credit and trading assets slightly down, RE loans steady. $fed

Minneapolis Federal Reserve

Before Fed Valentines:

@MinneapolisFed: Charts and timelines comparing post-WWII downturns updated with Jan 2012 data.

During Fed Valentines:

@MinneapolisFed: Shall I compare thee to price stability and full employment?

New York Federal Reserve

Before Fed Valentines:

@NYFedResearch: Economists use lab to show, as theory predicts, that when assets can be used as collateral, their price goes up

During Fed Valentines

@NYFedResearch: I'll be faithful to you at least until late 2014 (with dissent).

 

That's the full roundup so far. A few (the minority!) of other Fed banks didn't participate. But the real test of Fed valentines will come on Tuesday, when Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks. If he mentions Fed valentines, it will enter the realm of history.

 

About the author

Heidi N. Moore is The Guardian's U.S. finance and economics editor. She was formerly the New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for Marketplace.

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