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JEREMY HOBSON: Today is the last day of June which means it’s the last day of the Federal Reserve’s $600 billion bond-buying program known as Quantitative Easing Two, or QE2 for short. The program was meant to boost lending and spending by injecting a lot of cash into the economy. But has it worked? And will we miss it when it’s gone?
Let’s bring in Bruce McCain who is chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank and who pays close attention to the Fed’s every move. He’s with us from Cleveland. Good morning.
BRUCE MCCAIN: Good morning.
HOBSON: So, are we going to be OK without this QE2 bond-buying program?
MCCAIN: Well, I think we’re going to be OK one way or the other, but we have to raise a lot of money to cover the federal deficit by issuing bonds and we’ll have to see what the lack of a QE program does in terms of interest rates. If those rise too much, the Federal Reserve may have to respond.
HOBSON: You mean, other investors are going to have to step in and buy bonds where the Fed had been buying up Treasury Bonds before?
MCCAIN: Exactly. And typically you need higher rates to attract people to invest with you.
HOBSON: Well, do you think that QE2, looking back on it now, worked? What it a success?
MCCAIN: That’s a good question. It certainly helped to cover the gap in terms of money that we weren’t getting from other parts of the world or from private investors. But, it likely also had an impact in raising commodity prices and fueling the fires of inflation. So, I guess everything comes with good and bad, it had some beneficial effects, but it caused us some problems too.
HOBSON: Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank. Thanks so much for joining us.
MCCAIN: Good to be with you.