JEREMY HOBSON: Now let’s get to the Fed story. The Central Bank starts a two day meeting tomorrow — and the Fed is expected to signal an end to its landmark stimulus efforts. The Fed has been printing hundreds of billions of dollars to buy up mortgages and drive down the cost of borrowing.
Julia Coronado is chief economist with the investment bank BNP Paribas. She’s with us live, as she is each Monday, from New York. Good morning.
JULIA CORONADO: Good morning.
HOBSON: So is this the beginning of the end of easy money from the Fed?
CORONADO: Well, I think that the Fed is shift out of drive, but I don’t think that we’re going to yet go into reverse. I think we’re going to be stuck in neutral for quite some time. On the one hand the economy is doing a bit better, and they want to just sort of complete the program as scheduled. But they’re still balancing a very difficult situation. On the one hand we do have raising inflation, which might suggest higher rates. On the other hand, the economy’s been pretty disappointing of late. So on balance, I think that leaves the Fed just watching and waiting for a while and not trying to slam on the brakes too hard.
HOBSON: Not trying to slam on the breaks, but it does seem like we’re coming to an end of this easy money poly that’s been going on. So, I want to ask, did it work Julia?
CORONADO: I think we have to say it was effective. Keep in mind that it was never a cure-all for what ails the U.S. economy. There are structural adjustments that we’re in the middle of, and the housing market and at the state and local government level. These adjustments take time and Fed policy can’t, you know, hurry that along. At best the Fed’s policies were an insurance policy against downsides risk. And I think that’s been very effective. Business confidence has returned, consumers are acting in a more normal healthy manner. The labor market is still recovering very very slowly, but I think that’s the best we can expect right now.
HOBSON: Julia Coronado, chief economist with the investment bank BNP Paribas, thanks so much.
CORONADO: My pleasure.
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