Policy makers from the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England said they see few signs of equity price bubbles in the U.S. and the U.K., countering criticisms record stimulus is stoking excessive risk-taking.
“I don’t think we’re in that kind of territory that obviously makes these asset prices unsustainable and at a bubble level,” Bank of England policy maker David Miles said today during a panel discussion at the Boston Fed. While “this is something we have to keep monitoring” at the Fed, “I don’t see” these risks now, Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota said to reporters after speaking at the same forum.
Central banks from across developed economies have deployed unorthodox and little-tested easing to fuel economic growth. The Federal Open Market Committee in March reiterated its plan to buy $85 billion in bonds every month until the labor market outlook improves “substantially,” while pledging to monitor the costs and benefits of unprecedented accommodation.
“We don’t have a lot of experience” with large-scale asset purchases and “they can entail risks,” Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said during the panel discussion at the Boston Fed. “We’ve looked at a lot of things and there’s nothing in that horizon that causes me great angst.”
Evans votes on monetary policy this year; Kocherlakota does not.
Since cutting the benchmark interest rate to near zero in December 2008, the U.S. central bank has tried to fuel growth by expanding its balance sheet to $3.23 trillion and providing more guidance on its policy aims.
Several Fed officials said the central bank should begin slowing the pace of its asset purchases later this year and halt it entirely by year end, according to minutes of the March 19-20 FOMC meeting released this week.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.3 percent yesterday to 1,588.85, retreating from a record high the previous day, as government data showed retail sales unexpectedly fell in March, commodities plunged and a gauge of consumer sentiment slipped. The S&P 500 has gained 11.4 percent this year.
Kansas City Fed President Esther George said this month record stimulus for more than four years may create financial instability that could hurt employment over time.