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Almost three weeks have passed since the July 26 FOMC statement. And if you’re wondering if any of the voting FOMC members have had a change of heart, or if you just want a quick rundown on where there monetary policy biases lie, then today’s roundup is just for you.

Janet L. Yellen

  • Board of Governors
  • Fed Chair
  • No statements post-FOMC
  • More cautious on economy an inflation
  • Likely wary of hiking further

Fed Chair Yellen hasn’t delivered any new statements since her July 12-13 testimonies.

And in her prepared speech, she gave off a cautious vibe when she said the following:

“Of course, considerable uncertainty always attends the economic outlook. There is, for example, uncertainty about when–and how much–inflation will respond to tightening resource utilization.”

“At present, I see roughly equal odds that the U.S. economy’s performance will be somewhat stronger or somewhat less strong than we currently project.”

Yellen also implied that the Fed is not very confident that inflation will pick up as forecasted when she said the following:

“We’re watching this [weak inflation] very closely and stand ready to adjust our policy if it appears the inflation undershoot appears consistent.”

Finally, she implied that upward climb of the Fed Funds Rate would be slower when she said this (emphasis mine):

“Because the neutral rate is currently quite low by historical standards, the federal funds rate would not have to rise all that much further to get to a neutral policy stance.”

William C. Dudley

  • New York Fed President
  • Vice Chair
  • Has been hawkish lately
  • Latest speech implied he’s still hawkish on inflation and growth

In an August 10 press briefing on regional wage inequality, Dudley said that “the forces of technological change and globalization” have helped in “stifling wage growth for workers toward the middle and bottom of the wage distribution,” which is why wage growth has been subdued lately.

Despite the slower wage growth, which has a dampening effect on consumer spending and inflation, Dudley stressed that the Fed’s outlook “anticipates a continued moderate growth trend, with some further strengthening in the labor market and an increase in inflation over the medium term toward our objective of 2 percent.”

In the Q&A portion, Dudley noted that “We’ve had these very weak inflation readings for a number of months in a row” but he also said that the past drags on inflation will “drop out” in six to ten months, which is why he expects inflation to pick up the pace, although “It will take some time.”

Lael Brainard

  • Board of Governors
  • The queen of the doves comes home to roost after leaving when she voted for the March and June rate hikes
  • No statements post-FOMC
  • Cautious on inflation

Said straight up that she wants to start trimming balance sheet first before considering further hikes

Lael Brainard, the queen of the doves herself, hasn’t had any press time since her July 11 speech.

However, her July 11 speech is a good example of her very cautious tone, which is par for the course.

The quote below is a good example. Brainard even explicitly says that she wants to start the process of trimming the Fed’s balance sheet first before considering further hikes.

“If the data continue to confirm a strong labor market and firming economic activity, I believe it would be appropriate soon to commence the gradual and predictable process of allowing the balance sheet to run off. Once that process begins, I will want to assess the inflation process closely before making a determination on further adjustments to the federal funds rate in light of the recent softness in core PCE (personal consumption expenditures) inflation. In my view, the neutral level of the federal funds rate is likely to remain close to zero in real terms over the medium term. If that is the case, we would not have much more additional work to do on moving to a neutral stance. I will want to monitor inflation developments carefully, and to move cautiously on further increases in the federal funds rate, so as to help guide inflation back up around our symmetric target.”

Stanley Fischer

  • Board of Governors
  • Well-know for being a slippery snake who does his best not to reveal his personal biases
  • Monetary policy bias obviously unknown
  • Wants fiscal policy to do its part

Fischer gave a speech on July 31, which is obviously after the July 26 FOMC statement.

However, Fischer being Fischer, he gave the usual standard talking points about the expected recovery on inflation and moderate growth without really sharing a clear bias on his outlook.

And when it came to monetary policy, Fischer only had this to say:

“Monetary policy has a role to play. Transparent and sound monetary policy can boost confidence in the stability of the growth outlook, an outcome that can in turn alleviate precautionary demand for savings and encourage investment, pushing up the equilibrium interest rate.”

“However, as I have said before–and Ben Bernanke before me–“Monetary policy is not a panacea.” Also, to repeat myself, policies to boost productivity growth and the longer-run potential of the economy are more likely to be found in effective fiscal and regulatory measures than in central bank actions.”

In short, he’s doing the classic Fischer evasion tactic by saying that “Monetary policy has a role to play” before passing the buck to fiscal policy. All the while, Fischer avoids revealing his own monetary policy bias. Classic Fischer indeed.

Jerome H. Powell

  • Board of Governors
  • A known hawk
  • Said in the past that he supports three rate hikes this year
  • No statements post-FOMC
  • Current policy bias unknown

The last time Powell delivered a speech was on July 25, which is before the July 26 FOMC statement. Also, Powell didn’t really talk about monetary policy or his outlook on inflation and growth.

He’s also had other other speeches before that, but the last time he touched on monetary policy and inflation outlook was on June 1, which is also before the June 14 FOMC statement. And since the Fed hiked in June, then you already know that Powell was hawkish back then.

Anyhow, it remains to be seen to be seen if recent economic developments were enough to change Powell’s hawkish sentiment.

Charles L. Evans

  • Chicago Fed President
  • Dovish on interest rates
  • Wants Fed to trim balance sheet

In an August 9 interview, Chicago Fed President Evans said that “The economy is doing very well, but inflation might have some trouble getting up to 2 percent.”

He then revealed that he still has dovish view on inflation when he said that:

“What I’ve just outlined would put on the table in December possibly one increase, but if you thought that inflation was weaker and we needed more accommodation you could decide to put that off until later.”

He did acknowledge that the Fed could hike sooner if inflation rises faster-than-expected, but he stressed that he personally doesn’t think such a scenario is likely.

While Evans has a more dovish view on inflation and rate hikes, Evans also clearly expressed that he supported trimming the Fed’ balance when he said the following:

“I personally think that it would be quite reasonable to (begin trimming the Fed’s balance sheet) in September on the basis of the data that I’ve seen so far, even with the potentially temporary lower inflation data.”

Patrick Harker

  • Philadelphia Fed President
  • Was a strong hawk, but not so much anymore
  • Became worried about inflation
  • Wants to trim balance sheet
  • Wants “pause” on further hikes
  • No statements post-FOMC

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker was one of the more hawkish FOMC members, so much so that he said in the past that he will support three rate hikes this year.

I say “was” one of the more hawkish FOMC members because he said in a July 11 interview with the Wall Street Journal that the recent weakness in inflation has made him think twice about his hawkish position, although he also said that there may “possibly” still be one more hike this year.

Aside from the recent weakness in inflation, Harker also said that the Fed should “pause” on further rate hikes, at least in the next few months, because the Fed needs to “get on” with trimming its balance sheet first, which is the same view as Lael Brainard, the queen of the doves herself.

Oh, I would just like to point out that Harker shared his views on July 11, which is after the July FOMC statement. However, his less hawkish tone is clearly noteworthy. Also, it’s highly likely that Harker still has the same views, given the most recent data.

Robert S. Kaplan

  • Dallas Fed President
  • Was a hawk, but not anymore
  • Wants evidence that inflation is picking up
  • Wants to start trimming balance sheet “soon”

Kaplan lost his hawkish feathers on July 13 when he began to express concern over inflation.

And in a more recent August 11 statement, Kaplan said that he’s “willing to be patient now” when it comes to rate hikes. He then reiterated that he wants “to see more evidence that we [the Fed] are making progress in reaching our inflation objective” before voting for another hike.

This statement was made after the most recent CPI report disappointed, which likely means that Kaplan was none too happy with the CPI report as well.

Even so, Kaplan also said that the Fed should start trimming its balance sheet “soon“.

Neel Kashkari

  • Minneapolis Fed President
  • Voted against March and June rate hike
  • Clearly dovish

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari has been the most dovish FOMC member among the lot, more so than Brainard, because Kashkari voted against both the March and June rate hikes.

And when the latest CPI report came out last Friday, Kashkari triumphantly said that:

“The CPI came in today … and again it came in low. We have the luxury of waiting to see what actually happens … before we decide where to go with monetary policy.”

Kashkari then smugly said that his fellow FOMC members, especially the more hawkish ones who were worried over an inflation overshoot, were scared over a “ghost story, meaning, I cannot prove to you that there’s not a ghost underneath this table. I cannot prove it definitively. There may be. But there is no evidence that there is a ghost under this table. There is no evidence in any of the data that wages have this acceleration factor and are all of a sudden going to take off.”