An Echelon Media Company
Monday December 11th, 2023

US Federal Reserve hikes rates, to take out US$95bn a month to tame Powell bubble

QUESTIONS: Fed’s own broad money aggregates have already slowed to unexpected rates.

ECONOMYNEXT – The US Federal Reserve has hiked rates 75 basis points to 3.25 percent and pledged to suck out 95 billion US dollars in liquidity from the banking system from September in bid to reign in a commodity bubble that has pushed up energy and food prices around the world.

“My colleagues and I are strongly committed to bringing inflation back down to our 2 percent goal,” Fed Chief Jerome Powell told reporters.

“We have both the tools we need and the resolve it will take to restore price stability on behalf of American families and businesses.

“Price stability is the responsibility of the Federal Reserve and serves as the bedrock of our economy. Without price stability, the economy does not work for anyone.”

The Federal Reserve lost control of its 2.0 percent inflation target after printing large volumes of money to generate ‘jobs’ in the worst policy error since the Greenspan-Bernanke bubble in 2008, triggering a worldwide spike food and other commodity prices.

Inflation is now at levels seen in the early 1980s, when then Fed Chief Paul Volcker had to correct policy errors of Arthur Burns in the 1970s which led to the collapse of the Bretton Woods and the end of a centuries old gold standard.

Like some developing country central banks and Burns himself, Powell in 2021 blamed non-monetary causes such as ‘supply chain’ claiming inflation would be ‘transitory’ while classical economists warned that money supply was growing at unusually high levels.

The Fed said it will also sell down its Treasuries by 60 billion US dollars a month and agency debt another 35 billion US dollar a month to reduce liquidity in banks.

However the tightening comes amid an unusual slowdown in the US official M1 and M2 money supply numbers and steeper than announced fall in reserve balances through its open market operations to defend its earlier policy rate, indicating a higher level of ‘quantity tightening’ than announced.

Read Fed implementation note here

Read Feds FOMC statement here

Reserve balances (liquidity and the monetary base) have been falling faster than the ‘quantity tightening’ limits set by the Fed up to August.

Bubbling food commodity prices have reduced access to food to less affluent individuals around the world.

Countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia with bad soft-pegged central banks which also printed money during the Coronavirus crises but did not raise rates to contain domestic credit has seen their currencies collapsing.

As soft-pegged central bank through their failure to maintain the value of the currency have put large sections of their populations into near starvation which is quaintly referred to as ‘food insecurity’.

Several African currencies whose currencies have tanked have placed price controls and taken food of the shelves. In Tunisia farmers are killing milch cows for meat due to price control on milk. In Sri Lanka poultry farmers in trouble after price controls on eggs.

Stable pegs which did not collapse in the 2018 tightening exercise of the Fed including Vietnam are seeing pressure as US rates go up.

Bangladesh’s Taka, which cut rates in 2021 amid a post-Covid recovery is already tanking. Monetary authorities with better pegs usually raise rates in line with the anchor currency to match their credit cycles. (Colombo/Sept22/2022)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sri Lanka rupee opens at 327.00/50 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee opened at 327.00/50 to the US dollar on Monday, from 327.00/30 Friday, dealers said.

On the Colombo Stock Exchange, both indices opened up: The All Share Price Index 0.28 percent at 10,823, and the S&P SL20 0.35 percent at 3,113.85.

Bond yields were up.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 was quoted at 14.05/20 percent from 14.05/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2027 was quoted at 14.05/20 percent from 14.10/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 was quoted at 14.20/50 percent from 14.20/35 percent.

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka promoting Buddhist tourism from Vietnam, ASEAN

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is planning to boost Buddhist tourism by linking temples in the country with those in East Asia, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said after to welcoming a delegation of monks from Vietnam.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Minister Sabry have initiated a temple-to-temple program where 100 Sri Lanka temples will be linked with counterparts in the Association of South East Asian Nations region.

“Tourism development will get a lot of growth with the temple-to-temple program,” Minister Ali Sabry said.

Along with the delegation of monks, five travel agents from Vietnam were also invited.

Under the first phase of the Temple-to-temple programs, several monks from Sri Lanka had received invitations from Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam the Foreign Ministry said.

The Temple-to-Temple diplomacy program will be extended to Singapore, Japan, Thailand and Cambodia during the second phrase of the program.

Sri Lanka is targeting 2.3 million tourists in 2023, after getting about 1.5 million this year. (Colombo/Dec10/2023)

Continue Reading

ADB $200mn loan for Sri Lanka economic stabilization efforts

ECONOMYNEXT – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US 200 million dollar concessional loan to Sri Lanka to help stabilize the country’s finance sector.

The Financial Sector Stability and Reforms Program comprises two subprograms of IS 200 million dollars each, according to a statement by the ADB.

“The program’s overarching development objective is fully aligned with the country’s strategy of maintaining finance sector stability, while ensuring that banks are well-positioned for eventual recovery,” ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Takafumi Kadono was quoted as saying in the statement.

“The expected development outcome is a stable financial system providing access to affordable finance for businesses in various sectors of the economy.”

The ADB statement continues:

“Subprogram 1 targets short-term stabilization and crisis management measures that were implemented in 2023, while subprogram 2 is planned to be implemented in 2024 and focuses on structural reforms and long-term actions to restore growth in the banking sector.

The program will help strengthen the stability and governance of the country’s banking sector; improve the banking sector’s asset quality; and deepen sustainable and inclusive finance, particularly for women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest review, Sri Lanka’s economy is showing tentative signs of stabilization, although a full economic recovery is not yet assured.

The program is a follow-on assistance from ADB’s crisis response under the special policy-based loan that was approved for Sri Lanka in May 2023.

It is aligned with the fourth pillar of the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility provided to Sri Lanka to help the country regain financial stability.

It is also in line with the government’s reform agenda, including strengthening the operational independence of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and its designation as the country’s macroprudential authority.

In designing this subprogram 1 loan, ADB has maintained close coordination and collaboration with the IMF to design targeted regulatory reforms for the banking sector—including the asset quality review—and with the World Bank on strengthening the deposit insurance scheme.

“The loan is accompanied by a $1 million grant from ADB’s Technical Assistance Special Fund to provide advisory, knowledge, and institutional capacity building for Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and CBSL.”

Continue Reading