Is Bernanke the Grinch Who Stole Christmas?
The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by 25bp today, causing US stocks and carry trades to plummet and the dollar to strengthen significantly. For the traders who were hoping for a larger 50bp rate cut and a strong stock market rally, Bernanke may be the Grinch that stole Christmas. Minutes before the interest rate decision, stocks rallied indicating that more traders were adjusting their positions for the possibility of a larger rate cut. Unfortunately, not only did the Fed fail to cut interest rates by 50bp, but they also only lowered the discount rate by the same amount (25bp). The statement reeked on caution as the Fed acknowledged the slowdown in economic growth, the intensification of the housing market correction and the softening of business and consumer spending. They still feel that inflation could rise, but the upside risks to inflation no longer balance the downside risks to growth. This has caused Rosengren to vote in favor of a 50bp rate cut. Last month’s decision was al