The Markets


Like a host at a dinner party, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) put the performance of the U.S. economy on the table last week to be gnawed over by world markets. When the IMF presented its annual review of the world’s largest economy, it stated that: 

“Despite some improvements in economic indicators, particularly in the housing market, the very rapid pace of deficit reduction… is slowing growth significantly… U.S. growth is expected to slow to 1.9 percent in 2013, from 2.2 percent in 2012. This projection reflects the impact of the sequester ($85 billion of automatic U.S. government spending cuts), and the expiration of the payroll tax cut and the increase in tax rates for high-income taxpayers…Growth could pick up to 2.7 percent next year with a more moderate fiscal adjustment and a further strengthening of the housing market.” 

The IMF also said the Federal Reserve should continue quantitative easing through 2013. 

It was not the only one pondering the Fed’s quantitative easing program. The major U.S. stock market indices finished the week lower. The Dow Jones Industrials Average fell 1.2 percent last week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was off by 1 percent. Remarkably, the Dow experienced four straight days of triple-digit swings. 

The next Federal Open Market Committee Meeting is on June 18 and 19. While few people expect the Fed to announce it will reduce the pace of bond buying immediately, the majority of economists surveyed by USA TODAY predict the Federal Reserve will begin to reduce bond purchases by early autumn.