The US Federal Reserve’s decision last week to delay the start of its so-called “tapering” has confused investors about the reliability of its forward guidance. It has also created a trap that will make it difficult to start the tapering programme in the future unless the Fed changes its basic approach.
More specifically, Ben Bernanke, the Fed chair, explained that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) had decided not to reduce its pace of bond-buying because current economic conditions were not as favourable as the FOMC members had expected in June. Looking ahead, he said the Fed could begin tapering later this year “if the data confirm our basic outlook”. Continue reading »