I found a story on CNBC today about the timing of statement releases at the Fed that caught my interest.
The Federal Reserve is changing its schedule for issuing policy statements, a shift that will give Chairman Ben Bernanke more control over how investors respond to the Fed’s decisions.
The Fed will now issue a statement at 2 p.m. Eastern time for all eight meetings. Four of those meetings will be followed by a Bernanke news conference at 2:30 p.m. The change takes effect at the Fed’s March 19-20 meeting.
Prior to the change, nearly two hours passed between when the statement was issued and Bernanke’s news conference began.
Now, Chairman Bernanke will talk to reporters about the FOMC official statement one half hour after it is released instead of waiting until 4pm in order to try to head off whatever direction the statement has sent Chuck Norris and ensure he is on the path Bernanke wants.
I am just assuming a motivation here. I could be wrong. The schedule change might not have anything to do with my assumptions. Maybe Bernanke wants to knock off early on those days instead. But whatever the reason, I think it might end up helping to keep policy where Bernanke wants it rather than letting the loose cannons on the FOMC jaw away and drag policy off course in the 2-hour time lapse between the statement release and the news conference.
I am starting to like Bernanke. I see that he is trying to make a difference; and that changes my point of view of him considerably compared to a year ago. He may not be able to control what his colleagues do, but as I stated in my post about the employment report, he needs to get out in front of them – and it appears he’s doing it.