The Federal Reserve is preparing for the forthcoming tapering of Wall Street bonds, and with Chairman Jerome Powell set to address the Kansas City Federal Reserve's annual symposium tomorrow, many investors are on edge.
The federal government's monthly purchases of bonds began amid the global meltdown of 2008, which saw housing markets collapse amid a lack of government oversight and the dangerously unchecked growth of subprime mortgages. The steady stream of government spending has served as a form of financial IV for Wall Street in the 13 years since. While the economy eventually recovered, bond purchases didn't change.
Now, however, the Fed appears ready to begin the process of tapering its purchases at some point soon, having indicated as such in a move that set off a flurry of concerns on Wall Street. With Chairman Powell set to speak tomorrow, many investors are on edge, eager to hear of any details of the forthcoming taper.
Unfortunately, with no actual confirmation of Powell speaking on the taper or not tomorrow, there are no guarantees investors will get what they're looking for. Given the anxieties that many investors feel, it should be a given that markets will be a little queasy going ahead, at least until there are hard details as to what direction the Fed wants to take.
If Powell doesn't address the taper in tomorrow's address, the next chance will be during his next planned appearance in September.
The persistence of the bond purchasing long after any positive effects had worn off hasn't caused any direct harm to the economy as of yet. Still, superfluous cheap credit was what put the economy in recession in the first place, and the potential contribution to ongoing inflation stands as a considerable risk to pandemic recovery. Allianz Chief Economic Advisor Mohamed El-Erian told NPR that the government was, in essence, a parent over-indulging in giving their child candy and that it was time to cut the child off.
"Yes, there may be some issues in the beginning," he said, "There may be a tantrum. But the response to that is not to continue feeding your kid candy all the time. The response to that is to do the right thing and manage through the tantrum."