These days, all the talk in financial markets is about when the Federal Reserve will start paring its debt purchases. What’s more important, for everything from stocks to bonds to currencies, is when they will end.
There have been few major moves ahead of the Kansas Fed’s virtual Jackson Hole symposium, where Chair Jerome Powell on Aug 27 may provide insight into how and when officials will start pulling back their bond market support. That will set the timetable for how soon the Fed will raise interest rates.
The stakes are high, with the gusher of cash awash in the financial system driving US stocks to record highs, and Treasury yields holding just above six-month lows. Pulling back too quickly may derail the economic recovery just as the surge in the delta variant is posing a new risk. Moving too slowly could fuel the inflation pressures unleashed by the reopening from the pandemic.