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2011-09-03

Worse than expected jobs report

Following this morning’s worse than expected jobs report, Goldman Sachs’ chief U.S. economist Jan Hatzius predicted that Ben Bernanke and his colleagues at the Federal Reserve will step up their level of accommodative monetary policies.

In a note to clients, the Goldman economist wrote the following:

BOTTOM LINE: We now look for the FOMC to announce a lengthening in the average maturity of its balance sheet at the September 20-21 meeting.

MAIN POINTS:

1. Following today’s worse-than-expected jobs report, we now look for the FOMC to announce a lengthening of the average maturity of the Fed’s balance sheet at the September 20-21 meeting, with sales of relatively short-dated Treasuries and purchases of relatively long-dated Treasuries.

While such a measure would differ from the first two rounds of quantitative easing – in that the Federal would not be expanding the size of its balance sheet this time – the fact that the Fed would be purchasing Treasuries is likely to cause many investors and economists to label this move as QE3.

Moreover, such a decision by the Fed could establish a precedent for further easing, such as outright Treasury purchases similar in nature to that of QE1 and QE2, which would certainly qualify as QE3.

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