House Financial Services Committee
One of the most curiously persistent surrealisms of Washington, DC is the reflexive deference given the Federal Reserve System. The Washington elite tends to accord more infallibility to the Fed than do Catholics the Pope.
Yesterday she faced the wrath of Hensarling and Duffy in her Congressional hearing, today Fed Chair Janet Yellen pops over to The Senate. We suspect the rhetoric will be a little less aggressive as traders are interested to see if she walks back her comments yesterday that appeared to signal more hawkish "sooner" rate hikes. Of course, the main event will be when Elizabeth Warren is unleashed...
While Janet Yellen's prepared remarks were her normal bland data-dependent-when-we-want-to-be, rate-hikes-maybe-sooner-or-later self, we suspect the Q&A of The Fed Chair's Humphey-Hawkins testimony will be worth the price of admission. Face to face with Jeb Hensarling - who dares to demand The Fed respond to Congressional probes - will be a highlight but it will be interesting to see if the politicians suck up to their debt-monetizer-in-chief or try to score politically populist points with elections not so very far away...
Yellen Statement To Congress: Rate Hike "Appropriate At Some Point This Year" If Economy Evolves As Expected - Full TextSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/15/2015 08:37 -0400
Key highlights from the first day of Janet Yellen's testimony before Congress: " If the economy evolves as we expect, economic conditions likely would make it appropriate at some point this year to raise the federal funds rate target, thereby beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy. Indeed, most participants in June projected that an increase in the federal funds target range would likely become appropriate before year-end. But let me emphasize again that these are projections based on the anticipated path of the economy, not statements of intent to raise rates at any particular time."
Just when the Chinese plunge protection team (and "arrest shortie" task force) seemed to be finally getting "malicious selling" under control, first we saw a crack yesterday when the composite broke the surge of the past three days as a result of yet another spike in margin debt funded purchases, but it was last night's reminder that "good news is bad news" that really confused the stock trading farmers and grandmas, which goalseeked Chinese economic "data" beat across the board, with Q2 GDP coming solidly above expectations at 7.0%, and retail sales and industrial production both beating, but in the process raising doubts that the PBOC will continue supporting stocks.
When last we checked in with Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, he was in the process of learning a frustrating lesson about central bankers in the post-crisis world. Namely, that whatever pretension of accountability the position of Fed chair retained in the lead up to the crisis disappeared entirely when Ben Bernanke 'saved the world' from financial armageddon in 2008.
With The IMF (and Germany to a less extent) apparently peeing in the Greek Deal pool, perhaps it is worth considering what happens next if this "Greece is rescued" deal is not done. Who can save Greece? Who will pay The IMF? Why, that's simple, the good ol' American taxpayer thanks to The Fed's lifeline...
Just a few days after Jeb Hensarling accused The Fed of "willful obstruction" in the Congressional leak probe, demanding "immediate compliance" with the subpoena seeing "no legal basis to withhold records from Congress," Janet Yellen has responded in a letter: YELLEN REPEATS FED CAN'T PROVIDE DOCUMENTS ON LEAK PROBE. If this does not confirm The Fed is utterly above the law, we are not sure what it will take to convince skeptics of the need for an independent audit. As Hensarling previously noted, this appears to be "vigorous and coordinated obstruction.”
When has crony capitalism really gotten out of control? How about when a major U.S. corporation (a huge defense contractor, no less) is publicly threatening government officials to leave the country if the federal government doesn’t continue to boost their profits through government handouts...
“It is unacceptable, illegal and corrupt for anyone at the Fed to deliver inside information that could provide a financial advantage to the privileged few and lead to the manipulation of financial markets”: Hensarling
Having initially missed its deadline to provide a response to Congress with regard the 2012 leak of FOMC minutes to an external newsletter writer, The Fed reluctantly admitted that none other than Janet Yellen had met with them. Today, however, as The Wall Street Journal reports, The (unaudited) Fed has agreed to furnish a congressional panel with the names of its staffers who had contact with Medley Global Advisors in the months before the leak, “with the understanding that the names will be kept confidential." So we'll happily tell you who leaked it... as long as you don't tell the public. Audit The Fed!!!
Just two weeks ago we pointed out the fact that The Fed had seemingly ignored Congressional demands for details with regard the 2012 FOMC Statement leak. Now we know why they missed the deadline:
*YELLEN SAYS SHE MET WITH MEDLEY GLOBAL ANALYST IN JUNE 2012, SAYS SHE DIDN'T GIVE MEDLEY CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
So she met with the analyst that leaked the statement... but didn't say anything? The Justice Department has opened a formal investigation into the FOMC leak (and we suspect sworn testimony coming).
In a stunning shun to Congressional lawmakers, WSJ reports that The Fed has failed to comply with a request that the bank-owned entity identify the individuals who leaked The FOMC Minutes to Medley Global Advisors a day before the official release in October 2012. Rep. Jeb Hensarling sent a letter to Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen on April 15 asking the Fed to name them by 5 p.m. EDT April 22. The deadline passed without any response by the Fed...
Can't Wait To Read Bernanke's Memoirs? Here Are All The Timeless Statements By The Former Fed ChairmanSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/09/2015 16:13 -0400
We know it will be next to impossible to wait until October when this book of toner repair and printer cartridge replacement wisdom comes out, here is a sampling of timeless soundbites by the former Fed Chairman and current blogger, that should be enough to hold readers over.
"When I was chairman, more than one legislator accused me and my colleagues on the Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee of “throwing seniors under the bus” (to use the words of one senator) by keeping interest rates low. The legislators were concerned about retirees living off their savings and able to obtain only very low rates of return on those savings. I was concerned about those seniors as well."
- Ben Bernanke first blog post