Quotations From The Chairman, Translatedby
When the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board speaks, people listen. Then they scratch their heads and try to figure out what he said. Fed chairmen have a long tradition of being cryptic so they can hint at future actions without being locked into any particular course. Here are some examples of Chairman Alan Greenspan's FedSpeak at a Feb. 22 congressional hearing:
What he said: "Our monetary policy strategy must continue to rest on ongoing assessments of the totality of incoming information and appraisals of the probable outcomes and risks associated with alternative policies."
What he meant: Setting interest rates requires a lot of guesswork.
What he said: "When the Federal Reserve tightens reserve market conditions, it is not surprising to see some upward movement in long-term rates as an aspect ef the process that counters the imbalances tending to surface in the expansionary phase of the business cycle."
What he meant: The Fed's rate hike tanked the bond market because of fears of strong growth and inflation.
What he said: "Our long-run strategy implies that the Federal Reserve must take care not to overstay an accommodative stance as the headwinds abate."
What he meant: We're gonna tighten some more.