Policy Has Tightened a Lot. Is It Enough?
Comment of the Day

May 09 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Policy Has Tightened a Lot. Is It Enough?

Thanks to a subscriber for this article by Neel Kashkari for the Minneapolis Fed. Here is a section:

First, at a minimum, the FOMC must follow through on the forward guidance of federal funds rate increases and balance sheet reduction that we have already signaled in order to validate the repricing that has taken place in financial markets.

Second, we will need to see whether the supply issues that have contributed to high inflation begin to unwind and/or if the economy is in a higher-pressure equilibrium. I wrote about this possibility seven weeks ago. Unfortunately, the news from the war in Ukraine and the COVID lockdowns in China are likely delaying any normalizing of supply chains. If supply constraints unwind quickly, we might only need to take policy back to neutral or go modestly above it to bring inflation back down. If they don’t unwind quickly or if the economy really is in a higher-pressure equilibrium, then we will likely have to push long-term real rates to a contractionary stance to bring supply and demand into balance. The incoming data over the next several months should provide some clarity on these questions.

Finally, we will need to continue to assess where neutral is. If the economy is in fact in a higher-pressure equilibrium, that might indicate the neutral long-term real rate has increased, which would then require even higher rates to reach a contractionary stance that would bring the economy into balance.

Eoin Treacy's view

Kashkari is not a voting member this year, so he has some leeway to speak his mind. The big takeaway is he has historically been viewed as a dove, so for him to talk about the need to create a recession to combat demand strength is notable. That is feeding into the current recession scare and financial conditions tighten.

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