Central Bankers Are Not Omnipotent

from Zero Hedge

A generation of market participants has grown up knowing only the era of central bankers and the ‘Great Moderation’ of (most of) the last two decades elevated the status of central bankers significantly and while central bankers are generally very well aware of the limits of their own power, financial markets seem inclined to overstress the direct scope of monetary policy in the real world. Monetary policy impacts the real economy because it is transmitted to the real economy through the money transmission mechanism. This has become particularly important in the current environment, where, as UBS’ Paul Donovan notes, some aspects of that transmission mechanism have become damaged in some economies. Simplifying the monetary transmission mechanism into four very broad categories: the cost of capital; the willingness to lend; the willingness to save; and the foreign exchange rate; UBS finds strains in each that negate some or all of a central bank’s stimulus efforts. In the current climate, it may well be that the state of the monetary transmission mechanism is even more important than monetary policy decisions themselves. Some monetary policy makers may be at the limits of their influence.

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