This post first appeared here on September 13, 2012.
From Jeff Harding’s article today in the Daily Capitalist:
Today, the Fed announced an open-ended purchase of “agency” mortgage-backed securities of $40 billion per month at least until the end of the year, which along with its Operation Twist purchases, amount to $85 billion of such purchases each month. Again they wish to “support a stronger economic recovery”. Their justification was:
Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in August suggests that economic activity has continued to expand at a moderate pace in recent months. Growth in employment has been slow, and the unemployment rate remains elevated. Household spending has continued to advance, but growth in business fixed investment appears to have slowed. The housing sector has shown some further signs of improvement, albeit from a depressed level. Inflation has been subdued, although the prices of some key commodities have increased recently. Longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.
This time the Fed added some significant wording:
… If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities, undertake additional asset purchases, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate until such improvement is achieved in a context of price stability. …
The bottom line is that the Fed panicked. It is extraordinary that the Fed would announce an open-ended “we’ll print as much as it takes, as long as it takes” policy. Chairman Bernanke is sending a signal to the markets and to government that the economy is bad and getting worse and that the Fed will do its part as everyone expects them to do. This is a clear signal to the markets and the world that the Fed stands for monetary inflation. They don’t know what else to do.
Also see Bloomberg:
Fed Undertakes QE3 With $40B Monthly MBS Purchases:
The Federal Reserve said it will expand its holdings of long-term securities with open-ended purchases of $40 billion of mortgage debt a month in a third round of quantitative easing as it seeks to boost growth and reduce unemployment.
“We’re looking for ongoing, sustained improvement in the labor market,” Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in his press conference today in Washington following the conclusion of a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. “There’s not a specific number we have in mind. What we’ve seen in the last six months isn’t it.”
Also see Kitco:
Comex Gold Powers to 6-month High on QE3 from U.S. Federal Reqerve.