Fed kondigt QE3 aan: $40 miljard aan hypotheekschuld per maand
<<IMAGE_RIGHT>>De Amerikaanse centrale bank onderneemt eindelijk actie. Na maanden van wachten en beloven dat de rente tot ver in 2014 laag zal blijven gaat de Fed weer beginnen met het actief opkopen van schuldpapier. Dit keer geen staatsobligaties maar hypotheekbeleggingen, de zogeheten 'mortgage-backed securities' (MBS). Dat zal gebeuren in een tempo van $40 miljard per maand, waarbij geen einddatum opgegeven is.

In theorie betekent dit dat de Amerikaanse centrale bank vanaf nu onbeperkt hypotheekschuld aan haar balans kan toevoegen, waarbij maandelijks maximaal $40 miljard aan vers geld in de economie gebracht kan worden. De centrale bank zal dit programma voortzetten zo lang de werkloosheid niet structureel daalt. We betwijfelen of de maatregel van de Fed de werkloosheid uberhaupt kan terugdringen, want in eerste instantie zijn vooral banken en beleggingsfondsen met deze stimuleringsmaatregel geholpen. Op langere termijn kan deze QE3 maatregel banken helpen om risicovolle activa van de balans te halen, zodat ze weer makkelijker geld uit durven te lenen aan burgers en bedrijven. Dat zou een tijdelijke impuls kunnen geven aan de economie.

De Federal Reserve gaat tevens door met haar 'Operation Twist' programma, dat erop gericht is de langetermijn rente laag te houden. Dat doet de centrale bank door kortlopende staatsobligaties in te ruilen voor varianten met een lange looptijd (10 tot 30 jaar). Bernanke houdt het niet alleen bij deze twee programma's, want ook de rente zal langer laag blijven. Volgens de verklaring van de Federal Reserve blijft die tot 2015 op dit lage niveau.

De volledige FOMC-verklaring van de Federal Reserve is als volgt:

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in August suggests that economic activity has continued to expand at a moderate pace in recent months. Growth in employment has been slow, and the unemployment rate remains elevated. Household spending has continued to advance, but growth in business fixed investment appears to have slowed. The housing sector has shown some further signs of improvement, albeit from a depressed level. Inflation has been subdued, although the prices of some key commodities have increased recently. Longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee is concerned that, without further policy accommodation, economic growth might not be strong enough to generate sustained improvement in labor market conditions. Furthermore, strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook. The Committee also anticipates that inflation over the medium term likely would run at or below its 2 percent objective.

To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate, the Committee agreed today to increase policy accommodation by purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month. The Committee also will continue through the end of the year its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in June, and it is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities. These actions, which together will increase the Committee’s holdings of longer-term securities by about $85 billion each month through the end of the year, should put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative.

The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months. If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities, undertake additional asset purchases, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate until such improvement is achieved in a context of price stability. In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will, as always, take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases.

To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the economic recovery strengthens. In particular, the Committee also decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate are likely to be warranted at least through mid-2015.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Elizabeth A. Duke; Dennis P. Lockhart; Sandra Pianalto; Jerome H. Powell; Sarah Bloom Raskin; Jeremy C. Stein; Daniel K. Tarullo; John C. Williams; and Janet L. Yellen. Voting against the action was Jeffrey M. Lacker, who opposed additional asset purchases and preferred to omit the description of the time period over which exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate are likely to be warranted.

De goud- en zilverprijzen gingen voorafgaand aan de FOMC-verklaring in een rechte lijn naar beneden, maar toen het nieuws van nieuwe steunaankopen bekend werd ging de prijs weer fors omhoog. Op het moment van schrijven, iets meer dan een half uur nadat de koersen begonnen te stijgen, staat goud in dollars al 2,1% hoger op $1.767 per troy ounce en noteert zilver een winst van 4,26% op $34,65 per troy ounce. In euro's en kilo's praten we op dit moment over spotprijzen van €43.900 voor goud en €862,55 voor zilver.