Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ben Bernanke Speech

Ben Bernanke, spoke today before the Joint Economic Committee, U.S. Congress regarding the US Economic Outlook.

Based on the information in hand, it seems reasonable to expect that economic growth will moderate toward a more sustainable pace as the year progresses. In particular, one sector that is showing signs of softening is the residential housing market. Both new and existing home sales have dropped back, on net, from their peaks of last summer and early fall. And, while unusually mild weather gave a lift to new housing starts earlier this year, the reading for March points to a slowing in the pace of homebuilding as well. House prices, which have increased rapidly during the past several years, appear to be in the process of decelerating, which will imply slower additions to household wealth and, thereby, less impetus to consumer spending. At this point, the available data on the housing market, together with ongoing support for housing demand from factors such as strong job creation and still-low mortgage rates, suggest that this sector will most likely experience a gradual cooling rather than a sharp slowdown.However, significant uncertainty attends the outlook for housing, and the risk exists that a slowdown more pronounced than we currently expect could prove a drag on growth this year and next. The Federal Reserve will continue to monitor housing markets closely.
More fedspeak from the feds. Ben's soft language used to describe the housing market's decline is disappointing. It is misleading.




The market understood Ben's speech as meaning that interest rate hikes will end soon. Hence, the dollar declined significantly against the euro.

20 comments:

  1. He is implying that the housing market may take precedence over other issues...if they really think tinflation is contained and that the current cost of borrowing money is fair, they're insane. The only way to stop the bloated, greedy overconsuming track we're on is to curb consumer spending bu not allowing them to borrow any more money cheaply!! If the housing market cools yet this growth still continues, it only means go deeper into debt, because we all know nobody is saving and that we spend more than we earn. People should have to think twice about what they really need before HELOCing themselves to the hilt with advertised cheap money. High gas prices aren't doing it, slowing home sales aren't doing it, his dovish talk isn't doing it.

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  3. " If the housing market cools yet this growth still continues, it only means go deeper into debt, because we all know nobody is saving and that we spend more than we earn. "

    Hate to break it to you, but I don't. I own my own home and save over $2000 per month. Have fun running up your charge card at Express and flushing money down the toilet on rent.

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  4. Have fun running up your charge card at Express and flushing money down the toilet on rent.

    As opposed to flushing money down the toilet on mortgage interest payments and other sunk costs associated with owning? Renting actually throws less away in many metro areas now.

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  5. There is the market, and then there is you, and like it or not the market is right.

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  6. anonymous
    Hate to break it to you, but I don't. I own my own home and save over $2000 per month. Have fun running up your charge card at Express and flushing money down the toilet on rent.

    saving $2000 per month? Compared to what? Maybe from living in the Ritz Carlton hotel.

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  7. Seems more like overreaction to the Fedspeak to me.

    Did you folks read the entire testimony? Or were your opinions based on the media coverage?

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/BoardDocs/Testimony/2006/20060427/default.htm

    Seems pretty balanced to me. Inline with the fed minutes. Future moves are going to be increasingly data dependant, as they should be..

    grim

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  8. He's saying that they will at a minimum pause the hikes soon, probably at 5%. Inflation is contained at the consumer level overall, in spite of high commodities, and given the lags in the impact of monetary policy, the hikes of the last 12 months will continue to feed into the economy.

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  9. the dollar will get crushed unless rate raises continue.

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  10. Weaker dollar=cheaper imports. I wouldn't mind buying an HDTV in time for the world cup so this is pretty sweet.

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  11. collin,

    You have it backwards. A weaker dollar means that imports are MORE expensive.

    David

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  12. "Import inflation"

    On a lighter note..

    Man, that Bernanke spoof video has got me all screwed up. Now every time I see his picture in the press, all I can think about is whether or not his beard is real.
    (If you haven't seen it, you'll have absolutely no idea what the heck I'm talking about).

    grim

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  13. Renting is throwing money down the toilet. What a tired argument. John Templeton, one of the world's wealthiest people and one of the most successful investor of all time, has never had a mortgage and at age 90+ is still a renter. Tell your cliche-ridden argument to him.

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  14. "saving $2000 per month? Compared to what? Maybe from living in the Ritz Carlton hotel. "

    No, I am putting away $2000 every month. I was responding to (yet another) post predicting doom and gloom for the economy because "we" are all living paycheck to paycheck. What a suprise that a militant homeowner-hater would be doing that.

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  15. Hey Mr. Anonymous Yuppie,

    Not everyone can afford to put away $2,000 per month or $24,000 for entire year.

    This blog really bothers you, huh?

    Wow, I never realized how frightened housing heads, screw-the-poor capitalistas, and real estate people of the BubbleMeter blog.

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  16. anonymous responding to wvu_84

    I'm also socking a good chunck of my paycheck into investments and proud of it. I rent because housing is out of reach, but I hate living in a apartment. I have to put up with people cooking nasty smelling food, idiots blasting music at 1 oclock in the morning and a bunch of drunks coming from a party. One jerk below me threw a hugh party and I had to listen to drunks babbling nonsense until 2 oclock. I used to live in a town house and had to sell it because of a job loss. By the time I was able to land a relatively stable job, the housing prices jumped way beyond may reach.
    All parties involved in the price increases has caused a lower quality of life for me. Apartment living sucks!

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  17. "Apartment living sucks!"

    This has little to do with the rent vs. buy argument.

    People can buy a condo and end up with all the negatives you described. They can also rent a house.

    A Redskins fan

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  18. David - have you changed your mind on the Fed stopping at 5.25%?

    As I said back on the rate prediction thread, the combination of massive federal deficits and a falling dollar will force the Fed's hand. Of course, Helicopter Ben could opt for more creative solutions.

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  19. Anonymous
    "This has little to do with the rent vs. buy argument."

    I'm not arguing about rent or buy. I'm complaining about diminishing housing options.

    "People can buy a condo and end up with all the negatives you described. They can also rent a house."

    Where can I rent I house in the Silver Spring area? I can easily afford the $1100 rent but I make less then 6 figures. I also don't want to get house poor. Prior to this price run-up, I had better housing options.

    If I want to get out of apartment life, I will have to move back to Raleigh, NC or move to another area that did not participate in this bubble fad.

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  20. " David - have you changed your mind on the Fed stopping at 5.25%?"

    I still think 5.25 is most likely. 5.5% is possible. The feds are taking not of the declining dollar.

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