Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Twisting the Yield Curve--Again!

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Today the central bank of the US, the Fed, has announced that it will buy 600 billion dollars worth of “longer-term” Treasuries. By the end of second quarter 2011, they are planning on buying $75 billion in 30-year bonds per month. (I suppose that 20-yr bonds would also fall under the heading of “longer-term” as well.) They again hope that this additional liquidity, “stimulus” will jump start economic growth.

The Fed also announced that they will target Fed Funds rates between 0.00% and 0.25%. This is eerily similar to an announcement they made on March 18, 2009. In that announcement they said that they were going to target Fed Funds rates between 0.00% and 0.25% and inject $850 billion into the economy. $300 billion were to go into the purchasing of longer-term Treasuries. I have already described how such a scheme is pure folly here.  In that article, I also pointed out that it didn’t work when they tried it in the Kennedy Administration. Have we started to notice a pattern forming?

It is odd to find that we have tried this before and have not achieved the desired result. The key to impacting the so-called “real economy” by using expansionary monetary policy is by catching people unaware. If businesses see how much is injected and when, then they will adjust in anticipation of the injection. In other words, the only effect that the monetary stimulation will have is the immediate devaluation of the currency.


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