Last night, I had the opportunity to listen to Richard Fisher, current CEO and President of the Dallas Federal Reserve and FOMC voting member in a CFA related event.
CEO Dallas Federal Reserve
Mr. Fisher’s comments were on record (reporters in attendance) unlike many prior events, and as such I am delightfully bringing you some of the more impactful comments, from my perspective.
Mr. Fisher began his speech by speaking of many of the statistics regarding the Dallas Federal Reserve bank, which I will conclude with in this post. Due to space limitations, and many readers possible short attention spans, due to time constraints, I will begin with his most interesting comments, again from my perspective.
Most of his more insightful comments came during the questions period, which I am prioritizing from my perspective.
A question from an Forex trader (foreign currency) concerning China becoming the dominant currency? Mr. Fisher replied, from his point of view that in no way would the Chinese currency become the dominant currency in the near future, and he backed this comment with an interesting statistic that 80% of all Forex transactions involve the US, along with 37% being the Euro. Mr. Fisher did mention that the US became the dominant currency in a mere 20 years, leaving the door open for change.
A question was asked if the US markets have become “junkies“, needing more easing to sustain themselves. Mr. Fisher answered adamantly “There will be no more Quantitative Easing”. Mr. Fisher did not vote on the latest easing initiative, however he stands firm with his fellow governors that it was a good idea, but adamantly said there will be no more easing! In an interesting follow-up to this comment, which we very much agree with, he stated that market participants are manic-depressive, being on one end of the happy/sad spectrum at all times, and nothing in between. Admitting that there was in deed a slowdown, which was an answer to a contagion question of Greece, Spain etc, but stating he felt “nothing even remotely close” to what we have been through over the last terrible recession. We agree!
An interesting and important statement came from the following unrelated question “Should the Fed have a dual mandate?” (Currently the Fed has a mandate of stability AND employment, which is very unique to most reserve banks across the globe.) Mr. Fisher answered, in his opinion, “NO”, but that is the Fed’s current marching orders. He went on to mention that the Fed may, and will, if necessary take back (read–stop inflation) funds from the system if necessary to slow overheating, even if unemployment is still at a higher than comfortable level. This is an extremely important point in my mind and should serve as a warning shot over our bow for future reference.
In an interesting openness of how the Fed Policy meetings run currently (we have written on this before, some time ago, but felt it worth updating) Mr. Fisher gave the following three round analysis of how a Fed Meeting works.
- Round 1. All Fed Governor’s state what is going on in their district and have an unlimited time to discuss their district’s situation.
- Round 2. An all in visit on “What we should do?” about the current situation.
- Round 3. A detailed discussion on “What we should say?” which is reviewed and discussed to an every word detail. Followed up by preperation for Chairman Bernanke’s new media interview, which we have mentioned before. Mr. Fisher added a funny comment that Chairman Bernanke has a photographic memory, which himself and several others discovered as their prior comments had been repeated by Mr. Bernanke and questioned why the current change.
If you are still with me, you know this short, timely, post, has run much longer than I expected, so I will save further comments for a short follow-up article, (much to Kathy, our Newsletter editor’s dismay), in our soon to print Third Quarter 2011 Newsletter. Sorry for the long post, but I hope you enjoyed the insights as much as I did his visit.
Have A Terrific Day!