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On changing monetary policy   

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By Arthur Chalekian, GEPC

[Financial Consultant – Elite Financial Partners]

Economic Growth

It’s safe to say many people – like doctors ad medical professionals – are worried about whether economic growth – in the United States and abroad – will be stifled by changing monetary policy in the United States. As a result, all eyes have been on the Federal Reserve, which is expected to begin raising the Fed funds rates sometime soon. But, it didn’t happen on 9/17/15.

However, the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy isn’t the only game in town. Fiscal policy – the actions taken by our government – can also have a profound effect on economic growth. A July Brookings’ blog post ‘Fiscal Headwinds are Abating,’ reported:

“Tight fiscal policy by local, state, and federal governments held down economic growth for more than four years, but that restraint finally appears to be over….Fiscal policy is no longer a source of contraction for the economy, but neither is it a source of strength.”

The blog post discusses the reasons that government spending has held back economic growth. At the federal level, contraction was attributed to “… tight caps on annually appropriated spending and the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.” The organization’s Federal Impact Measure (FIM), which estimates the effect of federal, state, and local spending (and taxes) on gross domestic product growth, suggests federal spending caused economic growth to be 0.35 percentage points lower per year, on average, between 2011 and 2013.

There is talk of a government shutdown at the end of September. If it happens, it could have an effect on economic growth. The last time the government shut down was in 2013. Experts cited by the BBC reported the 2013 shutdown cost the U.S. economy about $24 billion and reduced quarterly economic growth by 0.6 percent. That shutdown lasted 16 days.

***

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Assessment

It is possible economic growth may slow for some period of time. It’s also possible monetary policy, fiscal policy, and other factors may be responsible.

Conclusion

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One Response

  1. More on the the Markets

    As Tom Petty often sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.”

    Whether it’s waiting for college acceptance letters, medical test results, employment offers, or Federal Reserve monetary policy changes, waiting can produce a lot of anxiety. A 2012 research paper written by Associate Professor Kate Sweeney and Graduate Fellow Sara Andrews of the University of California, Riverside, explained it like this:

    “…Although waiting for inevitable events such as the arrival of a bus or one’s turn in line may be irritating…the combination of uncertainty about the outcome and waiting for that outcome can be particularly excruciating. In fact, waiting may be more anxiety provoking than actually facing the worst case scenario…”

    That may go a ways toward explaining why markets didn’t rally when the Federal Reserve decided to leave rates unchanged last week. The Federal Open Market Committee’s statement indicated they were concerned, “Recent global economic and financial developments may restrain economic activity somewhat and are likely to put further downward pressure on inflation in the near term.”

    On the face of it, continued low rates should have been good news for assets like stocks, according to Barron’s. However, any positive aspects to the news were mitigated by the fact everyone expects the Fed to begin raising rates soon. Investors are waiting for it to happen, and they’re uncertain how economies and markets will react when it does.

    Heightened anxiety may be one of the reasons investors responded the way they did last week. On Friday, after mulling the Fed’s decision, national stock market indices around the world – in the United States, England, Germany, France, and Japan – fell significantly, according to Yahoo! Finance.

    Now, we’re back to waiting.

    If anxiety remains high, markets may be volatile.

    Arthur Chalekian GEPC
    [Financial Consultant]

    Like

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