Greenspan - rates shld head higher

Discussion in 'Economics' started by 2cents, Sep 15, 2007.

  1. Greenspan Sees Political Pressure on Fed as Inflation Picks Up
    2007-09-15 00:03 (New York)

    By Craig Torres
    Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve may need to
    double its benchmark interest rate to at least 10 percent by
    2030 to contain inflation, sparking a political showdown that
    could challenge its independence, former Chairman Alan Greenspan
    Slowing productivity and rising wages abroad will probably
    cause U.S. consumer prices to climb in the next quarter century,
    Greenspan wrote in his book, ``The Age of Turbulence: Adventures
    in a New World,'' published by Penguin Press. His outlook
    includes a reversal of many of the trends that aided the success
    of his own tenure at the Fed.
    There are already some signs that political scrutiny is
    rising. Democrats including Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who
    heads the House Financial Services Committee, called last week
    for a ``meaningful'' cut in interest rates.
    ``Federal Reserve independence is not set in stone,'' wrote
    Greenspan, 81, who led the Fed for 18 years until January 2006.
    ``The dysfunctional state of American politics does not give me
    great confidence in the short run'' and there may be ``a return
    of populist, anti-Fed rhetoric,'' he wrote.
    The book, an advance copy of which was obtained by
    Bloomberg News, is scheduled for publication on Sept. 17. The
    Wall Street Journal published an account on its Web site
    yesterday after buying a copy at a New York-area bookstore.
    To keep inflation under 2 percent, ``the Fed, given my
    scenario, would have to constrain monetary expansion so
    drastically that it could temporarily drive up interest rates
    into the double-digit range not seen since the days of Paul
    Volcker,'' Greenspan wrote.

    Volcker Example

    Volcker was Greenspan's predecessor, and faced criticism
    from members of Congress as he lifted borrowing costs to rein in
    prices, sending the economy into a recession in 1980 and 1981.
    Now, Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, who took the Fed's helm in
    February of last year, faces some pressure to cut rates after a
    housing recession spurred a sell-off in credit markets and the
    first loss of jobs in four years.
    The Federal Open Market Committee will cut the benchmark by
    a quarter point on Sept. 18 to 5 percent, according to the
    median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists.
    Frank said in a Sept. 7 statement that the Fed should make
    ``a meaningful interest-rate cut'' to help the economy.
    Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York said the
    same day it was ``no longer a question for the Fed.''
    Greenspan helped guide the longest economic expansion in
    U.S. history, lasting from 1991 to 2001. Growth averaged a 3
    percent annualized rate during the former Fed chief's time at
    the central bank.

    Growth Forecast

    The economy will probably slow to a pace of under 2.5
    percent on average from now until 2030, Greenspan forecast in
    the book.
    Consumer prices, which increased at an average annual rate
    of 3.1 percent during Greenspan's tenure, will likely climb by
    4.5 percent or more a year in the future, he wrote. Ten-year
    Treasury yields may average 8 percent by 2030, he said.
    ``How the Federal Reserve responds to a reemergence of
    inflation'' will have ``a profound effect not only on how the
    U.S. economy of 2030 turns out but also, by extension, on our
    trading partners worldwide,'' Greenspan wrote in the book.
    The former chairman built his projection on three economic
    shifts that he said can already be seen. First, the 1990s boom
    in productivity, which allowed Americans to produce more goods
    and services without pushing up prices, is fading.
    ``There is little doubt, however, that the burst of U.S.
    non-farm productivity growth from 1995 to 2002 has given way to
    a lessened pace of growth,'' Greenspan wrote.

    Productivity to Slow

    Productivity gains averaged a 1.7 percent annual rate in
    the first six months of this year, down from 3.6 percent during
    the high-technology boom of 1999. Greenspan forecast a long-term
    average of 2 percent for increases in output per hour.
    Greenspan also forecast an end to the anti-inflation
    pressures from the inclusion of China and other emerging
    economies into the global trading system.
    U.S. wage earners have suffered and consumers have
    benefited from a one-time shift of millions of workers into the
    world labor force. The former chairman once defined
    globalization as the elimination of borders in the production of
    goods and services.
    ``The continuing acceleration of the flow of workers to
    competitive markets during the past decade has been a potent
    disinflationary force,'' Greenspan wrote. ``That acceleration
    has held down inflation virtually uniformly across the globe.''
    That force may be coming to an end.

    China Effect

    ``The rate of flow of workers to competitive labor markets
    will eventually slow, and as a result, disinflationary pressures
    should start to lift,'' Greenspan wrote. ``China's wage growth
    should mount, as should its rate of inflation. The first signs
    are likely to be a rise of export prices, best measured by the
    prices of Chinese goods imported into the United States.''
    U.S. Labor Department figures showed yesterday that costs
    of imported Chinese products rose for a fourth straight month in
    The third source of pressure on inflation will come from
    U.S. government budget deficits, according to Greenspan. Federal
    spending absorbs private savings and uses them for less
    productive purposes, imparting ``a bias toward inflation''
    Greenspan wrote.

    --Editor: Anstey (mfr/shw)

    To contact the reporters on this story:
    Craig Torres in Washington at +1-202-654-1220 or;

    To contact the editor responsible for this story:
    Chris Anstey at +1-202-624-1972 or
  2. He said he didn't foresee the subprime problem yet can predict what rates are going to be 22 years from now?
  3. Daal


    2030 doesnt seem right. by then the secular in commodities should be over. 2020 seems more correct
  4. I can't foresee what's going to happen on Tuesday when the Fed moves or doesn't, but the larger trend is pretty easy to see. So, I'd say Greenspan is right, at least to the extent that things are going to get interesting.
    What I don't know is in which direction. The only thing I consider a certainty is that all currencies are going to devalue in terms of gold over the next 10 to 15 years. What I don't know is whether that comes from a deflationary Thirties type scenario, or an inflationary Seventies scenario.
    I can see deflation, if China dissolves into one of its periodic revolutions, where the old dynasty - in this case the Communists - are overthrown in favor of some new regime. Not as unlikely as you might think. It all depends on what happens when the current boom over there ends.
    And 2030 does seem a little late. By then, some new world arrangement should be in place.
  5. Yeah. We'll all be opening up little mom & pop businesses to do laundry for the Chinese.
  6. the charts are indicating Volker style rates for long term trends, but this sharp countertrend rally can kill many positions. Key is to let it subside, and then hop on the long term trend.
  7. Bernie will only 25 basis, my cleaning lady said she consulted a voodoo economics priestess.

    With 25 basis, the markets might run some minor stops spurt 10 points up on the equity indexes,(spooz), dow 50 points, then tank as the day progresses.

    market has really priced in 50 basis at this point.

    Remember Bernie is a gradualist. 25 basis increments.
  8. [snip]Remember Bernie is a gradualist. 25 basis increments.

    That's correct and a point well taken. Last weeks posturing adds additional weight to 0.25.

    Should be a very profitable week and a prelude to 'The contrarian's ball 2008."
  9. 25 on FF is only one thing, although for youze that're doing FF futures of course the most important.
    But then there's the discount rate, and the statement. The most hardline would be 25 off, no change on the discount, and a statement that is not friendly to further cutting. Softest, and not likely, would be 25 off on FF (I don't think they'll do 50 either), 50 on the discount, and a friendly statement.
    So to me most likely is 25/25 and a middling statement. I'd say a selloff afterwards in stocks, and then the rest of the week is spent in recovery mode.
    Most important is looking at that discount rate. If they don't lower that at all, they're saying they think the worst of the credit crunch is past, or that this is all the relief they intend to give. That, more than the FF move or the statement, will be the tipoff.
  10. Scribe


    Now the light bulb comes on for "The Maestro"?. Now he see the problems? Great timing since it isn't his problem anymore.

    I guess he forgot that he helped create most of the problems that we are now going to have clean up over the next decade or two. But it made him look good while he held the position.
    #10     Sep 15, 2007