Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke Set to Speak on the State of Quantitative Easing

At 2:30 p.m. ET today, the Federal Reserve Chairman is hosting a press conference on the fate of interest rates.

Here are some key things to watch for:

  1. The fed has been buying bonds at $85B/month. Will the fed taper off this quantitative easing (QE)? If so, how much?
  2. What are the implications of the risk of a liquidity squeeze in China?
  3. How will QE tapering effect the gold markets?
  4. What impact will QE tapering have on the rest of the world? There’s speculation emerging markets like South Africa may be at highest risk.

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Report: Global Economic Prospects – June 2013

Expect slow growth in high income countries and slow growth in developing countries.

Key risks include:

  1. Quantitative easing: The massive surge of capital outflows to emerging and other developing economies is having a major impact. Corporations with sound credit ratings, attracted by the low borrowing costs, have taken on more debt, thus increasing their exposure to foreign exchange. As a result, their vulnerability to future interest rate changes in the developed world and the overall exchange rate volatility will increase.
  2. Commodity prices:
    1. Industrial commodity prices are easing due to new supply, however;
    2. Rising global food demand will push up prices 10 to 40 per cent over the coming decade.
    3. Growth in food production has slowed over the past decade even as rising incomes in developing countries boosted consumption
    4. Higher prices will have their biggest impact in developing countries.
  3. Higher interest rates are a cause for concern for developing countries.
  4. Downgraded prospect for growth in Europe.