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Tags: Kenningham | Fed | communication | taper

Capital Economics' Kenningham: The Fed Has a Communication Problem

By    |   Friday, 27 September 2013 08:20 AM EDT

The Federal Reserve may have a communication problem.

Markets expected the Fed to taper, or reduce, its bond-purchasing stimulus this month. The only question was by how much - $10 billion, $15 billion or $20 billion?

Instead, the Fed surprised markets by ruling against any taper, saying it will continue buying $85 billion of government and mortgage-backed securities monthly because the economy still remains too feeble.

Editor’s Note:
Obama Donor Banned This Message (Shocking)

The market's surprise and confusion over the Fed's no taper decision shows that its forward guidance, which tie future decisions to economic benchmarks, is not working, Andrew Kenningham, senior global economist at Capital Economics, told CNBC.

"Changes to the targets, or to how they are interpreted, can add to the uncertainty."

The Fed has constantly changed its projections. For instance, this month it cut its GDP growth outlook for this year and 2014.

"The reason there was such a large market reaction to the Fed's announcement on Sept. 18," he told CNBC, "was not simply that the decision itself was unexpected, but that the Fed gave the impression that it was moving the goalposts for monetary policy."

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said that the Fed's decisions to scale back the purchases will be based on economic conditions, not on particular dates. Still, Bernanke had said the central bank might start tapering this year.

"The communication difficulties which both the Fed and the Bank of England have experienced in recent months — and the easier time which the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan have had — suggest that simpler policy frameworks may be more effective," Kenningham told CNBC.

The Bank of Japan, in contrast to the Fed, he said, has released short and clear communications without economic targets.

Economists say the Fed failed to communicate clearly in the months before the meeting, a new Reuters poll shows.

According to the poll, 33 of 48 economists called the Fed's communication "unclear." Five of the 15 who said it was clear had correctly predicted no tapering.

Most now predict tapering to start in December.

"In December — who knows? I think they have lost market trust, and even when they communicate the market will surely question," Sam Bullard, senior economist at Wells Fargo, told Reuters.

One economist, Reuters reported, was more critical, saying the Fed's communication policy was "buried under a pile of horse dung"

Editor’s Note: Obama Donor Banned This Message (Shocking)

Related Stories:

Joel Naroff: Fed Members 'Seem to Be Fighting Each Other' Over Tapering

Economists, Analysts Blast Bernanke's 'Needless Miscommunication'

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The Federal Reserve may have a communication problem.
Friday, 27 September 2013 08:20 AM
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