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Waiting for the Bankers, and September

Posted by Joseph Trevisani on Aug 24, 2017 9:23:57 AM

The Federal Reserve's annual summer conference is unlikely to produce any policy surprises from Draghi, Yellen and company but with markets in late summer recess the speeches will offer a precis of the fall agenda. 

Focus at the Jackson Hole, Wyoming gathering will be on European Central Bank President, Mario Draghi. The ECB has been steadfast in providing monetary support for the continental economies but with the Fed two years into its gradual tightening and Brexit concerns muted, a change of policy is probably less a matter of if than when.

The more positive Mr. Draghi sounds about European economic prospects, the better the chances for an early fall run higher in the euro. 

For U.S. Fed Chair Janet Yellen the speculation will be of a more personal nature.  Her term is up in February and President Donald Trump has not indicated whether he might nominate her for a second term.

During the campaign, Mr. Trump said he didn’t plan to nominate her to a second term.  He contended as did Congressional Republicans that the Fed had kept interest low to help Democrats. Ms Yellen denied that politics played a role in policy decisions.

Every president since Ronald Reagan has re-nominated the Fed chief in place at the beginning of his presidency. If Mr. Trump does not Ms Yellen would be just the third Fed leader since 1934 to serve only one term.

The dollar steadied in Europe rising against the yen but drifting lower versus the pound and the euro.  European equities were higher. The FTSE 100 and the German DAX were ahead by about half a percent and the Paris CAC 40 by about a third of a percent.  American stock futures indicated a higher opening in New York.

Trading volumes in the currency and equity markets were again weak, a typical late summer pattern with much of Europe and the United States on vacation.  Oil was down slightly and the Bloomberg Commodity Index showed a small gain. 



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