By Thomas Cooley, Ben Griffy and Peter Rupert
Today’s revised estimate of Q2 GDP from the BEA saw only a small downward revision that did little to change the economic outlook. The advance estimated growth of 1.2% was revised down to 1.1%. Personal consumption expenditures continues to be the main driver it appears, contributing 2.94%, while there was also a smaller decrease in private fixed investment. Although, investment overall has continued to look weak.
The general weakness, PCE aside, will almost certainly keep the Fed sitting on their hand this September.
Yellen’s Jackson Hole Remarks:
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen spoke at the annual meeting in Jackson Hole this morning (link to transcript). Entitled “The Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy Toolkit: Past, Present, and Future,” she focused on whether the current monetary tools are adequate for future downturns. Most specifically, she points to the ability of the Federal Reserve to affect the quantity of reserves held by banks. After the government pumped extra liquidity into the market following the Great Recession, the previous policy tool (changing the volume of reserves offered by the Fed in the overnight market) would have been dwarfed by the reserves available from banks. To prevent this from happening, the Congress implemented a policy in October 2008 to allow interest to be paid on reserved held by banks. The results have been nothing short of astonishing:
Yellen made the case for a gradually rising Federal Funds rate conditional on economic conditions continuing to strengthen. This strengthened the prospect that we will see further rises this calendar year. All told, the prospect seems to be for gradual improvement of the economy as reflected in the steady improvement in employment and wages, but no major moves in the Fed’s policy stance or targets.