Thursday, Aug. 22 marks the start of the annual Fed meeting at Jackson Hole, WY - although this one will be much different than those of years past...
Every year since 1981, the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has invited a slew of economic luminaries to its annual symposium in tony Jackson Hole.
The Jackson Lake Lodge, nestled among two lakes on the Willow Flats that front the imposing Teton Range, can host central bankers from any one of the world's largest economies, as well as cutting-edge economic thinkers and theorists from global academia.
Global market- and bank-watchers look to the Fed meeting at Jackson Hole as a source of critical information regarding potential shifts in macroeconomic policy.
Investors look to the meeting to bring a healthy, if fleeting, shot in the arm to the markets and share prices. Nearly any unexpected remark or errant word coming from the proceedings has the ability to rock the markets.
Why the Jackson Hole Fed Meeting Will Look Familiar
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will take the podium this Friday at the economic policy summit in Jackson Hole, WY, as traders hang on every word hoping he'll deliver a clear signal of central bank action in 2012.
They have good reason to think the Jackson Hole Fed meeting can move markets. It was at this summit two years ago in August 2010 that Bernanke announced an economic stimulus program that came to be known as Quantitative Easing 2.
QE2 consisted of the Federal Reserve inflating its balance sheet to purchase $700 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds from November 2010 to June 2011. This was necessitated as no investors, either foreign or domestic, could be found to purchase U.S. Treasury bonds at such low interest rates.
Now, two years later, the U.S. economy has economic growth falling with unemployment rising. Consumer confidence is at record low levels. Lending institutions are processing millions of properties through various stages of foreclosure. Businesses are sitting on record levels of cash, preparing for the worst, rather than investing in job-creating plants, equipment and machinery.
Oil prices are also rising, which will have a negative impact on the U.S. economy. The more money sent overseas to pay for imported oil, the less there is to buy the goods and services that raise the level of employment in the United States.
This was how things were in 2010. Actually, things seem worse now since Standard & Poor's in August 2011 downgraded the credit rating of the United States.
In an attempt to change this gloomy outlook, the Federal Reserve is letting it be known that it will act again in a major way, like in did in August 2010.
But, like that year, no new policies will officially start until after Election 2012.
The Federal Reserve cannot be seen as doing anything that might influence voting when Americans go to the polls the first Tuesday in November. That is the way it was in 2010, and that is the way it will be this year.
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