domenica 16 maggio 2010

Chi è Ben Bernanke e perchè i tassi sono ancora così bassi? Taleb e il flash crash. Aggiornamento al 14 maggio 2010

Il New York Times dedica un lungo articolo al governatore della Fed Bed Bernanke.  
Intanto si levano voci autorevoli a favore di un rialzo dei tassi di interesse: scrive infatti il Wall Street Journal

Mr. Hoenig says that the Fed's very low interest rates in response to the most recent crisis were "understandable." Now, he says, "we've gotten through the crisis. We are not out of the woods, the economy isn't booming, but we are now in a position where we ought to be thinking about the long run. That's what central banks should do."
In that search for "long-run equilibrium" Mr. Hoenig says "zero is not sustainable." Instead, he thinks the Fed should move "towards a more normal monetary policy posture" as the economy allows. This, he explains, is "why I dissented. Because I think we need to be preparing. I can't guarantee the carpenter down the street a margin. I really don't think we should be guaranteeing Wall Street a margin by guaranteeing them a zero or a near zero interest rate environment."
Mr. Hoenig stresses that the idea is not to make a tight policy, "but to begin to move it back to a more neutral policy." He's particularly concerned that, in the current interest rate environment, "the saver in America is in a sense subsidizing the borrower in America." That's not a good long-term environment for markets. "We need a more normal set of circumstances so we can have an extended recovery and a more stable economy in the long run." (...)
All of this makes sense, but there is still the ugly fact that unemployment is near 10% and the economy is operating well below its capacity. Isn't that an argument for easy money?
"I certainly agree that there is a lot of slack in the economy," Mr. Hoenig says, though he reminds me that things have been picking up. More importantly, he argues that based on research he has seen, "output gaps [a measure of excess capacity in the economy] in most circumstances have not been particularly useful as a predictive tool. And in my own judgment, that's correct: In the '70s when we had a very long period of negative interest rates, we had what people referred to at the time as stagflation [inflation with little or no growth]. I think that's a possibility. It's every bit as much a possibility as whatever it is these individuals are talking about with this output gap."
Why? Because, he says, "we have a very, very accommodative policy, we have a very, very significant deficit, and we will have increasing pressures around that deficit and in funding that deficit." (...)
One way out of a sovereign debt crisis, I point out, is printing money. Will the Fed have pressure to do that in order to deal with the U.S. deficit?"Greece is a lesson for us," he warns, "in the sense that we shouldn't be so, if I may say, so arrogant to think that that couldn't happen to us or others. We're fortunate, we're a much bigger economy and we're the reserve currency." But U.S. deficits are not sustainable, he says. There could be pressure on the Fed to print its way out of the problem, Mr. Hoenig acknowledges, and "the outcome of that will be a very strong inflationary bias."
That is certainly a possibility. But if it happens the fault won't lie with one stubborn voice of dissent, crying out in Missouri.

Roberto Perotti sul Sole 24 Ore di ieri prende le difese della speculazione finanziaria:  
una missione non tanto facile in un paese come l'Italia. Spesso non sono d'accordo con Perotti
ma questa volta condivido la maggior parte delle sue considerazioni.

Nassim Taleb intervistato da Bloomberg parla del flash crash del 6 maggio scorso e di cosa ci trova di veramente preoccupante

Ecco l'aggiornamento al 14 maggio 2010

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