Powell bull bear
  • So far seen only tentative signs of moderation in labor demand, wage growth
  • Jobs data today was more or less in line with expectations, decline in job openings a positive
  • For most workers, wage increases are being offset by inflation
  • Initial surge in inflation not related to wages
  • Questions about the elasticity supply is an important one the Fed is thinking about
  • Hard to pin down the natural rate of unemployment given disruptions
  • Fed continues to think job openings versus number of unemployed is important
  • It's difficult to forecast inflation now given circumstances remain unusual
  • Slowing down at this point is a good way to balance risks
  • Still thinks there's a path to a soft or soft-ish landing without a severe recession
  • Soft landing scenario plausible but won't speculate on odds
  • One risk management tool is to go slower, one is to hold longer
  • "I don't want to overtighten"

The excitement in markets continues with the S&P 500 up 1% and the Nasdaq up 1.8%. The market is feeling much more comfortable about 50 bps in December and it's now priced at 89% compared to 75% earlier.

Saying "I don't want to overtighten" is a marked change in tone from Jackson Hole and other speeches in Sept/Oct.

Key line:

"We tend to assume things will go back to the way they were just naturally but that doesn’t seem to be happening so far. We are going to have to be humble and skeptical about forecasts I think for some time."

That means that economic data will be more tradable than ever.