The first was being unaware that the foundation of the U.S. banking system had been eroded away by complex mortgage securities carrying high credit ratings, but which turned out to be toxic during a broad housing downturn. The resulting meltdown in valuations caused the global financial crisis in 2008 that hobbled the U.S. economy for years.
More recently, a misreading of the strength of the labor market and the persistence of price shocks sparked by the pandemic led to the highest inflation rate in 40 years and the final chapter of this saga is still to be written. The policy error paved the way for making 2022 the worst year in financial markets arguably since the 1930s. Both stocks and bonds have plummeted and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome “Jay” Powell is at the center of the financial turmoil, landing him on the MarketWatch 50 list of the most influential people in markets.
Critics have pounced on the Fed. Powell’s insistence that rising inflation was “transitory” and would quickly dissipate once the economy reopened more fully has been called “probably the worst inflation call in Fed history” by Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser for Allianz. The economist Stephen Roach has compared Powell to former Fed chair Arthur Burns, whose indecisiveness under intense political pressure led to the crushing inflation of the 1970s. As recently as March 2022, when the Labor Department was reporting a 7.9% annual rise in consumer prices, Powell and the Fed were just ending injecting liquidity into financial markets.
How Powell, who is not a trained economist, is ultimately remembered will depend on whether he’s able to tame inflation without driving the U.S. into a deep recession. It could still all end relatively well, but the debate about what signs the U.S. central bank ignored and why will be studied and debated for years to come.
For now, outside experts are debating the causes that led to the big policy mistake. Some Fed officials, including Powell, have started to chime in. Here are the four underlying causes of the initial policy error that emerged in interviews with experts. They include the Fed’s new policy framework, Powell’s distrust of forecasts, unintended consequences of some forward guidance the Fed gave markets in 2020, and the nature of the pandemic’s perfect economic storm.
Source : www.marketwatch.com/story/why-did-inflation-surge-to-a-40-year-high-here-are-4-causes-of-the-worst-monetary-policy-mistake-in-years-11667318263?mod=newsviewer_click undefined - November 01, 2022