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News Link • Federal Reserve

Bernanke Is Signaling An Announcement On September 21, 2011

I think there are two reasons that Bernanke chose not to announce policy changes at Jackson Hole: I) He wants it to look to the world (and a few Republican politicians) as if the Fed’s actions are being done only after deep deliberation and discussion. That is why the next meeting has been changed to a two-day format. There will be a two-day circus of Fed Governors looking very serious. But that is just for the TV audience. This is Ben’s show. He has the votes. He is steering the ship. The decisions have already been made. Ben’s going to do something on 9/21. II) Ben had to put off announcing more monetary oomph today because there is something that has to happen first. There has to be something that comes out of the EU before Bernanke makes his next move. I’m not sure what happens next in Europe. I’m of the opinion that something needs to be done, and it needs to be done quickly. There are a number of things that the ECB could do. They could (1) significantly expand their effort at QE (the number starts at E 1 trillion). They could (2) drop official lending rates close to zero. They could (3) agree to issue E bonds. Some combination of those actions would buy some more time. The problem is that all of those steps have been discussed and pretty much firmly rejected. There is a fourth option. The strong hands in the EU could give in to the markets and let some of the PIIGS (starting with Greece) float on their own. This option has also been previously rejected. I think it is time for serious consideration for this. I can’t think of a single person who has a voice in these matters that actually believes that Greece can be saved with more debt. We shall see, possibly as soon as Sunday night. Yet another option is to get the US Fed into the picture with dramatic draw-downs on existing USD swap lines (Starts with $500 Billion). This is another possibility for this weekend or next.

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