Word Cloud @F-L-O-W

            Word Cloud @F-L-O-W
      From the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee

The following is from Abe Cofnas and Options University in which he ran a word cloud [word clouds take content and shows in graphic form the number of times words are used] on the minutes of the FOMC meeting in December.

Dear Subscribers-
I want to share a word cloud I generated on the FOMC minutes that were released on January 3 .
Let me know what you think.

Focus on Federal Reserve Minutes
A meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee was held on Dec 11, 2012 and Dec 12 2012. The minutes of this meeting was released January 3, 2013.

Gold Sold off in reaction as seen in the chart above. The immediate reaction was in response to fading expectation of continued stimulus. However, in the cloud of words, there emerged the key word INFLATION. Notice below. This “word-cloud” shows key words in documents on the basis of their frequency of mention. So its very interesting and provides a clue that the sentiment is shifting towards an expectation of inflation. This is bullish for Gold.

Part 2 –
For those of you interested in reading the actual text that generated the word cloud – here it is.

Text From the Federal Reserve Minutes:

FOMC meeting Incoming information pointed to stable, low inflation that was running a little below the Committee’s long run goal of 2 percent. Crude oil prices had moved down since the October meeting amid accumulating inventories and market concerns about a weaker global outlook. Despite some reports of labor shortages in certain industries, compensation pressures had remained subdued, and unit labor costs were little changed over the previous four quarters. Most participants saw the risks to the inflation outlook as broadly balanced, and many noted that longer-term inflation expectations were well anchored. One participant, however, expressed concern that considerable uncertainty surrounded the relationship between unemployment and inflation, raising questions about the extent to which resource slack would keep inflation restrained over the medium term.

In their discussion of financial developments, a few participants commented that recent steps taken by European authorities had reduced volatility in sovereign debt markets over the intermeeting period; however, concerns remained about the fiscal and economic outlook in Europe. Many noted the ongoing deleveraging in the private nonfinancial sector of the U.S. economy and indicated that it was difficult to judge when that process would be complete. A few participants, observing that low interest rates had increased the demand for riskier financial products, pointed to the possibility that holding interest rates low for a prolonged period could lead to financial imbalances and imprudent risk-taking. One participant suggested that there were several historical episodes in the United States and other countries that might be used to build a better understanding of the financial strains that could develop from a long period of very low long-term interest rates. Pointing to a recent decision of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, one participant commented that further money market mutual fund reform would help reduce risk in the financial system.

Participants exchanged views on the likely benefits and costs of additional asset purchases in the context of an assessment of the ongoing purchases of MBS and possible additional purchases of longer-term Treasury securities to follow the conclusion of the maturity extension program. Regarding the benefits, it was noted that asset purchases provide support to the economic recovery by putting downward pressure on longer-term interest rates and promoting more-accommodative financial conditions. Participants discussed the effectiveness of purchasing different types of assets and the potential for the effects on yields from purchases in the market for one class of securities to spill over to other markets. If these spillovers are significant, then purchases of longer-term Treasury securities might be preferred, in light of the depth and liquidity of that market. However, if markets are more segmented, purchases of MBS might be preferred because they would provide more support to real activity through the housing sector. One participant commented that the best approach would be to continue purchases in both the Treasury and MBS markets, given the uncertainty about the precise channels through which asset purchases operated. Others emphasized the advantages of MBS purchases, including by noting the apparent effectiveness of recent MBS purchases on the housing market, while another participant objected and thought that Federal Reserve purchases should not direct credit to a specific sector. With regard to the possible costs and risks of purchases, a number of participants expressed the concern that additional purchases could complicate the Committee’s efforts to eventually withdraw monetary policy accommodation, for example, by potentially causing inflation expectations to rise or by impairing the future implementation of monetary policy. Participants also discussed the implications of continued asset purchases for the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet. Depending on the path for the balance sheet and interest rates, the Federal Reserve’s net income and its remittances to the Treasury could be significantly affected during the period of policy normalization. Participants noted that the Committee would need to continue to assess whether large purchases were having adverse effects on market functioning and financial stability. They expressed a range of views on the appropriate pace of purchases, both now and as the outlook evolved. It was agreed that both the efficacy and the costs would need to be carefully monitored and taken into account in determining the size, pace, and composition of asset purchases.

Meeting participants discussed the possibility of replacing the calendar date in the forward guidance for the federal funds rate with specific quantitative thresholds of 6 percent for the unemployment rate and 2 percent for projected inflation between one and two years ahead. Most participants favored replacing the calendar- date forward guidance with economic thresholds, and several noted that the consistency between the mid-2015 reference in the Committee’s October statement and the specific quantitative thresholds being considered at the current meeting provided an opportunity for a smooth transition. However, possible advantages of waiting a while to introduce the change to the Committee’s forward guidance were also mentioned, including that a delay might simplify communications by keeping the introduction of thresholds separate from the announcement of additional asset purchases. Among the benefits of quantitative thresholds that were cited was that they could help the public more readily understand how the likely timing of an eventual increase in the federal funds rate would shift in response to unanticipated changes in economic conditions and the outlook. Accordingly, thresholds could increase the probability that market reactions to economic developments would move longer-term interest rates in a manner consistent with the Committee’s view regarding the likely future path of short-term interest rates. A few participants expressed a preference for using a qualitative description of the economic indicators influencing the Committee’s thinking about current and future monetary policy rather than quantitative guidance because they felt that qualitative guidance would be at least as effective as numerical thresholds while avoiding some potential disadvantages, including the possibility that the numerical thresholds would be mistakenly interpreted as the Committee’s longer-run objectives. A few participants commented that the quantitative thresholds might be interpreted as triggers that, when reached, would prompt an immediate increase in short-term rates. However, a number of participants indicated that the Chairman’s press conference and other avenues of communication could be used to emphasize, for example, the distinction between thresholds and the longer-run objectives as well as between thresholds and triggers. Participants also discussed the importance of clarifying that the thresholds would not be followed mechanically and that a variety of indicators of labor market conditions and inflation pressures, as well as financial developments, would be taken into account in setting policy.

Thank you,

Abe Cofnas  
The Options University Trading Team



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