News / Economy

Wall Street Responds Positively to Federal Reserve Plan

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke addresses a Federal Reserve conference in Boston, Oct 2010 (file photo)
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke addresses a Federal Reserve conference in Boston, Oct 2010 (file photo)

Global stock markets surged and the U.S. dollar fell against major currencies following a Federal Reserve decision to pump $600 billion into circulation to push interest rates lower. It is a move intended to accelerate the U.S. economic recovery, and while investors appear to be applauding the move, monetary officials in Europe and elsewhere are not.

President Barack Obama said the American people sent a loud message in this week's midterm elections - the economy is priority number one. "They want us to focus on the economy and jobs, and moving this country forward."

With a divided U.S. government come January, however, analysts say providing further economic stimulus might prove challenging. Republicans, who will take control of the House of Representatives, are opposed to new government spending initiatives. And U.S. income tax rates will increase next year, unless a deal can be struck between Congress and the White House to keep them at current levels.

If the White House and Capitol Hill appear to be at loggerheads, the U.S. Central Bank is moving forward with an ambitious plan - printing money, lots of money, to buy government securities. It is a mechanism known as "quantitative easing."

Former U.S. Assistant Treasury Secretary Richard Clarida said that with short-term interest rates already at historic lows, taking action to ratchet down long-term rates is the Federal Reserve's only option to stimulate the economy.

"Essentially, the Fed cannot cut interest rates," said Clarida. "They are at zero [percent] at the short end. So if they are going to ease [monetary] policy, they have to do it through these quantitative measures." Clarida spoke on Bloomberg Television.

The Federal Reserve's announcement on Wednesday sparked rallies in global stock markets, sent prices for commodities like oil and copper sharply higher, and caused the dollar to fall relative to major world currencies.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal newspaper, France's Finance Minister Christine Lagarde warned that the Fed's move would put unwelcome upward pressure on the Euro. German Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle suggested that quantitative easing will produce inflation, not economic growth.

The German minister said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke seems to believe that economies can be boosted by simply dropping money from a helicopter. The minister added that he does not share that view.

Echoing the theme, Brazil's Finance Minister Guido Mantega said the world wants to see a stronger U.S. economy. But he suggested that dumping money in Washington is not the way to do it.

Stronger currencies in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere will make their exports more expensive and threaten economic expansion.

The European Central Bank and the Bank of England are choosing against additional stimulative measures of their own, and they have decided to hold interest rates at their current levels.

ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet: "The underlying momentum of the recovery [in Europe] remains positive."

Clarida sees quantitative easing as a guard against deflation, which could cause America's economic recovery to stall.

"The Fed is much more concerned about a deflationary outcome of falling prices than it is about a rise in inflation three or four years from now," said Clarida. "And so from the Fed's point of view, with high unemployment and inflation well below its target, it should do quantitative easing. It will clearly lower rates. It will weaken the dollar. And the Fed is hoping that leads to economic growth and lower unemployment."

Analysts say that a swift drop in long-term interest rates could boost America's ailing housing market, which would brighten the nation's economic prospects. But the longer-term effect of printing money is inflation, which would have the opposite effect on interest rates.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.