The initial resting place for Timothy Geithner, who stepped down as Treasury secretary two weeks ago, will be at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Per their release today:
Timothy F. Geithner, the 75th Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, will join the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) later this month as a distinguished fellow. Geithner, who was previously a senior fellow at CFR in 2001, will be based at the organization’s headquarters in New York.
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Both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England will vote on monetary policy on Thursday.
The Monetary Policy Committee decision is out at noon local time (11.00 GMT). According to a Reuters poll, most expect the Bank to hold rates and maintain the stock of asset purchases at £200bn. However, a significant minority predict more QE, with most of these believing that £50bn is the amount that the MPC is most likely to plump for.
Though those expecting more QE in October are in the minority, the bulk of analysts do believe the Bank will expand its asset purchases at some point in the near future, with November considered the most likely option. The Bank also publishes the minutes of its FPC meeting on Monday at 09.30 local time (08.30 GMT), which may shed some light on the rather ambiguous statement that came out this week.
The travails of the euro and the US’s soft-pedalling on the renminbi having emptied Tim Geithner’s trip to China of much potential drama, the revaluation lobby back in Washington have tried a new tack. Charles Schumer, senator for Stronger Renminbi, and some of his colleagues have demanded that Beijing authorise the release of the staff report which forms part of China’s annual “Article 4″ IMF healthcheck for last year and includes the fund staff’s views on the exchange rate. More than 80 pc of IMF member countries publish staff reports, but China, as it is entitled to do, is not among them. It releases instead something at one remove, a rather more opaque summing up of the IMF executive board’s discussion of the report.
The IMF has been embroiled in these rows before, and for a while went so far as to refuse to discuss the Chinese economy in the executive board to avoid disputes. But it has also stated pretty clearly that it thinks the renminbi should be liberalised, and still not much has happened. While it’s good to have US senators pressing the cause of transparency within the IMF, with whatever motive, it’s pretty unlikely that what the fund thinks is going to tip the policy balance in Beijing.
As it turns out, the Federal Reserve System has about 20 times the number of economists as the US Treasury.
Tim Geithner, Treasury secretary, noted the diminishing number of US treasury economists under the Bush administration in testimony to the House appropriations committee today.
The Treasury entered this economic crisis with its professional ranks seriously depleted. We entered the worst economic downturn in generations with, just as an example, only 25 economists in the Office of Economic Policy, which is a third fewer than in 2000…Just to give you by comparison, similar offices at the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture have 140 and 330 economists, respectively. The Federal Reserve System has over 500 PhD economists.
Other than the call for economic reinforcements, no major surprises in Mr Geithner’s testimony.
Darrell Issa, the ranking Republican member of the House oversight committee who has been spurring on an investigation into the governments role in the AIG ‘backdoor bail-out’, today asked the committee’s chair to subpoena “all relevant documents from the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury Department” and “obtain information” Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson, the Treasury secretary at the time of the decisions.
It’s a significant move.