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Fed Vice Chair Fischer Does Not Expect Second Taper Tantrum

Fed Vice Chair Fischer Does Not Expect Second Taper Tantrum

Varun Jaitly,

Talking Points:

  • Fed Vice Chair Fisher doesn’t expect balance sheet reduction to trigger another “taper tantrum”
  • 2013 surge in US bond yields after Bernanke previewed QE taper has led Fed to update methods
  • The US Dollar rose almost 0.1 percent against its major currency counterparts as Fisher spoke

The Federal Reserve’s Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer spoke today at Columbia University, discussing some of the Fed’s current policy deliberations as well as operational details. Of his comments, he most notably discussed the FOMC’s debate on reducing the balance sheet in the near future.

Fischer was asked if the move to reduce the balance sheet might spur an unintended market reaction similar to the mid-2013 “taper tantrum”. This refers to an episode when benchmark 10-year Treasury yields rose nearly 1 percent following a testimony from then Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, where he introduced the idea of gradually reducing the size of – or “tapering” – QE asset purchases.

The Vice Chair noted that there would always be a possibility that financial markets may react strongly to policy announcements. However, according to Fischer, the market reaction following Bernanke’s testimony was a lesson in communication for the Federal Reserve, and they have since updated their methods. While Fischer feels that the Fed can be too predictable at times, he does not believe there will be a “taper tantrum”-like response to Fed balance sheet reduction.

Further comments from Fed Vice Chair Fischer:

  • There are times when the Fed can be too predictable
  • Fed needs to find ways to deal with shadow banks
  • Fed has curbed leveraged lending considerably
  • Doesn’t believe Fed is being led by market expectations
  • Doesn’t see liquidity problems in US financial markets
  • A remarkable feature of the taper tantrum is that it was a surprise that should not have been a surprise, at least from the perspective of the information the FOMC had at the time.
  • In assessing market expectations for policy, the FOMC reviews a variety of market indicators and also draws heavily on the New York Fed’s Survey of Primary Dealers.

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