Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Devoluzione socialismo, Stati Uniti

USA. FED System. Documento dei Governatori sulla politica monetaria.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-07-15.

FED 001

La Federal Reserve ha rilasciato il documento sottoscritto dal Board dei Governatori sulla politica monetaria.

È un documento molto esteso e particolareggiato, di cui riporteremo solo il sommario, pur raccomandandone la lettura del testo completo.

«monetary policy continues to deliver powerful support to the economy until the recovery is complete»

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«Carenze di materie prime e “difficoltà nelle assunzioni” stanno frenando la ripresa economica statunitense dalla pandemia da coronavirus e hanno causato un picco “transitorio” di inflazione.

Lo ha detto la Federal Reserve nel rapporto semestrale al Congresso Usa sullo stato dell’economia.

“Il progresso delle vaccinazioni ha portato alla riapertura dell’economia e a una forte crescita economica” si legge. “Tuttavia, le carenze di materie prime e le difficoltà nelle assunzioni hanno frenato l’attività in vari settori”.

Il rapporto sarà oggetto di audizioni al Congresso la prossima settimana, tra cui la testimonianza del presidente della Fed Jerome Powell sull’outlook per economia, inflazione e transizione della politica monetaria in un contesto di affievolirsi della pandemia.

Il rapporto pubblicato dalla Fed analizza in gran parte la situazione economica pregressa, ma documenta la visione della banca centrale di una ripresa che resta ben instradata mentre imprese e famiglie si orientano all’interno di una complessa riapertura economica.» [Reuters]

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Carenza ed alto costo delle materie prime sono problematiche che esulano le competenze della Fed, ma che dovrebbero stare ben più a cuore nel gestire la politica estera. Accattivarsi le amicizie dei paesi estrattori e produttori delle materie prime contrasta con la politica di imposizione della Weltanschauung liberal e delle relative sanzioni comminate.

Correttamente, a nostro modesto avviso, la Fed assume la piena occupazione come parametro cardine della ripresa economica, che le manovre finanziarie devono cercare di assecondare.

Certo, fa specie che vi siano tuttora 14,209,007 disoccupati sotto sussidio federale ed il sistema abbia “difficoltà nelle assunzioni”.

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Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Monetary Policy Report. July 9, 2021

Summary.

Over the first half of 2021, progress on vaccinations has led to a reopening of the economy and strong economic growth, supported by accommodative monetary and fiscal policy. However, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have continued to weigh on the U.S. economy, and employment has remained well below pre-pandemic levels. Furthermore, shortages of material inputs and difficulties in hiring have held down activity in a number of industries. In part because of these bottlenecks and other largely transitory factors, PCE (personal consumption expenditures) prices rose 3.9 percent over the 12 months ending in May.

Over the first half of the year, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) held its policy rate near zero and continued to purchase Treasury securities and agency mortgage-backed securities to support the economic recovery. These measures, along with the Committee’s guidance on interest rates and the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet, will help ensure that monetary policy continues to deliver powerful support to the economy until the recovery is complete.

Recent Economic and Financial Developments

The labor market. The labor market continued to recover over the first six months of 2021. Job gains averaged 540,000 per month, and the unemployment rate moved down from 6.7 percent in December to 5.9 percent in June. Although labor market improvement has been rapid, the unemployment rate remained elevated in June, and labor force participation has not moved up from the low rates that have prevailed for much of the past year. A surge in labor demand that has outpaced the recovery in labor supply has resulted in a jump in job vacancies and a step-up in wage gains in recent months.

Inflation. Consumer price inflation, as measured by the 12-month change in the PCE price index, moved up from 1.2 percent at the end of last year to 3.9 percent in May. The 12-month measure of inflation that excludes food and energy items (so-called core inflation) was 3.4 percent in May, up from 1.4 percent at the end of last year. Some of the strength in recent 12-month inflation readings reflects the comparison of current prices with prices that sank at the onset of the pandemic as households curtailed spending—a transitory result of “base effects.” More lasting but likely still temporary upward pressure on inflation has come from prices for goods experiencing supply chain bottlenecks, such as motor vehicles and appliances. In addition, prices for some services, such as airfares and lodging, have moved up sharply in recent months toward more normal levels as demand has recovered. Both survey-based and market-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations have risen since the end of last year, largely reversing the downward drift in those measures in recent years, and are in a range that is broadly consistent with the FOMC’s longer-run inflation objective.

Economic activity. In the first quarter, real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 6.4 percent, propelled by a surge in household consumption and a solid increase in business investment but restrained by a substantial drawdown in inventories as firms contended with production bottlenecks. Data for the second quarter suggest a further robust increase in demand. Against a backdrop of elevated household savings, accommodative financial conditions, ongoing fiscal support, and the reopening of the economy, the strength in household spending has persisted, reflecting continued strong spending on durable goods and solid progress toward more normal levels of spending on services.

Financial conditions. Since mid-February, equity prices and yields on nominal Treasury securities at longer maturities increased, as the rapid deployment of highly effective COVID-19 vaccines in the United States and the support provided by fiscal policy boosted optimism regarding the economic outlook. Despite having increased since February, mortgage rates for households remain near historical lows. Overall financing conditions for businesses and households eased further since February, as market-based lending conditions remained accommodative and bank-lending conditions eased markedly. Large firms, as well as those households that have solid credit ratings, continued to experience ample access to financing. However, financing conditions remained tight for small businesses and households with low credit scores.

Financial stability. While some financial vulnerabilities have increased since the previous Monetary Policy Report, the institutions at the core of the financial system remain resilient. Asset valuations have generally risen across risky asset classes with improving fundamentals as well as increased investor risk appetite, including in equity and corporate bond markets. Vulnerabilities from both business and household debt have continued to decline in the first quarter of 2021, reflecting a slower pace of business borrowing, an improvement in business earnings, and government programs that have supported business and household incomes. Even so, business-sector debt outstanding remains high relative to income, and some businesses and households are still under considerable strain. In the financial sector, leverage at banks and broker-dealers remains low, while available measures of leverage at hedge funds increased into early 2021 and are high. Issuance volumes of collateralized loan obligations and asset-backed securities recovered strongly through the first quarter of 2021, while issuance of non-agency commercial mortgage-backed securities was weak in that quarter. Funding risks at domestic banks continued to be low in the first quarter, but structural vulnerabilities persist at some types of money market funds and bank-loan and bond mutual funds. (See the box “Developments Related to Financial Stability” in Part 1.)

International developments. Foreign GDP growth moderated at the start of the year, as some countries tightened public health restrictions to contain renewed COVID-19 outbreaks. Compared with last spring, many foreign economies exhibited greater resilience to public-health-related restrictions, and their governments have continued to provide fiscal support. Recent indicators suggest a pickup in activity in advanced foreign economies this spring following an increase in vaccination rates and an easing of restrictions. However, conditions in emerging market economies are more mixed, in part dependent on their success in containing outbreaks and the availability of vaccines. Inflation has been rising in many economies, as the price declines seen last spring reversed and commodity prices ramped up. Monetary and fiscal policies continue to be supportive, but some foreign central banks are adopting or signaling less-accommodative policy stances.

Foreign financial conditions generally improved or held steady. Equity prices and longer-term sovereign yields increased across advanced foreign economies, boosted by their ongoing reopening. Equity markets in emerging market economies were mixed, and flows into dedicated emerging market funds slowed. After trending lower since the spring of 2020, the foreign exchange value of the dollar has changed little on net since the start of the year.

Monetary Policy

Interest rate policy. To continue to support the economic recovery, the FOMC has kept the target range for the federal funds rate near zero and has maintained the monthly pace of its asset purchases. The Committee expects it will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with its assessments of maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2 percent and is on track to moderately exceed that rate for some time.

Balance sheet policy. With the federal funds rate near zero, the Federal Reserve has also continued to undertake asset purchases, increasing its holdings of Treasury securities by $80 billion per month and its holdings of agency mortgage-backed securities by $40 billion per month. These purchases help foster smooth market functioning and accommodative financial conditions, thereby supporting the flow of credit to households and businesses. The Committee expects these purchases to continue at least at this pace until substantial further progress has been made toward its maximum-employment and price-stability goals. In coming meetings, the Committee will continue to assess the economy’s progress toward these goals since the Committee adopted its asset purchase guidance last December.

In assessing the appropriate stance of monetary policy, the Committee will continue to monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook. The Committee is prepared to adjust the stance of monetary policy as appropriate if risks emerge that could impede the attainment of the Committee’s goals.

Special Topics

The uneven recovery in labor force participation. The labor force participation rate (LFPR) has improved very little since early in the recovery and remains well below pre-pandemic levels. Relative to its February 2020 level, the LFPR remains especially low for individuals without a college education, for individuals aged 55 and older, and for Hispanics and Latinos. Factors likely contributing both to the incomplete recovery of the LFPR and to differences across groups include a surge in retirements, increased caregiving responsibilities, and individuals’ fear of contracting COVID-19; expansions to the availability, duration, and level of unemployment insurance benefits may also have supported individuals who withdrew from the labor force. Many of these factors should have a diminishing effect on participation in the coming months as public health conditions continue to improve and as expanded unemployment insurance expires. (See the box “The Uneven Recovery in Labor Force Participation” in Part 1.)

Recent inflation developments. Consumer price inflation has increased notably this spring as a surge in demand has run up against production bottlenecks and hiring difficulties. As these extraordinary circumstances pass, supply and demand should move closer to balance, and inflation is widely expected to move down. (See the box “Recent Inflation Developments” in Part 1.)

Supply chain bottlenecks in U.S. manufacturing and trade. Supply chain bottlenecks have hampered U.S. manufacturers’ ability to procure the inputs needed to meet the surge in demand that followed widespread factory shutdowns during the first half of last year. Additionally, a massive influx of goods has exceeded the capacity of U.S. ports, extending manufacturers’ wait times for imported parts. The stress on supply chains is reflected in historically high order backlogs and historically low customer inventories; these stresses, together with strong demand, have led to increased price pressures. When these bottlenecks will resolve is uncertain, as they reflect the global supply chain as well as industry-specific factors, but for some goods, such as lumber, the previous sharp increases in prices have begun to reverse. (See the box “Supply Chain Bottlenecks in U.S. Manufacturing and Trade” in Part 1.)

Inflation expectations. To avoid sustained periods of unusually low or high inflation, a fundamental aspect of the FOMC’s monetary policy framework is for longer-term inflation expectations to be well anchored at the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run inflation objective. Even though the pace of price increases has jumped in the first half of this year, recent readings on various measures of inflation expectations indicate that inflation is expected to return to levels broadly consistent with the FOMC’s 2 percent longer-run inflation objective after a period of temporarily higher inflation. That said, upside risks to the inflation outlook in the near term have increased. (See the box “Assessing the Recent Rise in Inflation Expectations” in Part 1.)

Monetary policy rules. Simple monetary policy rules, which relate a policy interest rate to a small number of other economic variables, can provide useful guidance to policymakers. Many of the rules have prescribed strongly negative values of the federal funds rate since the start of the pandemic-driven recession. Because of the effective lower bound for the federal funds rate, the Federal Reserve’s other monetary policy tools—namely, forward guidance and asset purchases—have been critical for providing the necessary support to the economy through this challenging period. (See the box “Monetary Policy Rules, the Effective Lower Bound, and the Economic Recovery” in Part 2.)

The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet. Since January, the growth in reserves, the drawdown of the Treasury General Account, and the surge in usage of the overnight reverse repurchase agreement (ON RRP) facility have significantly affected the composition of the Federal Reserve’s liabilities. Against a backdrop of low short-term market interest rates and ample liquidity, the use of the ON RRP facility has increased substantially since April and has reached a recent high of nearly $1 trillion, compared with usage near zero in February. Factors contributing to this increase included the decline in Treasury bill supply, downward pressure on money market rates, and the recent technical adjustment to the Federal Reserve’s administered rates. (See the box “Developments in the Federal Reserve’s Balance Sheet and Money Markets” in Part 2.)