...A growing number of economists, analysts and bond investors think the Federal Reserve will announce another massive bond-purchase plan by the middle of the year, if forecasts for persistently high unemployment and slowing inflation come to fruition.
...the job market is not expected to improve quickly enough for Fed policy-makers, who are looking for a much bigger drop in the jobless rate to support solid economic growth.
So if "much" doesn't happen...?
How much is much?
...the market’s sense is that someone needs to do something, and the U.S. central bank seems to be the only institution in the country willing and able to take steps to support the economy.
...the Fed will have enough reasons — domestic sluggishness, lack of action from Congress and the White House, simmering debt problems in Europe — to begin a third round of quantitative easing, dubbed QE3.
How many reasons are needed?
What reasons are "needed"?
"It’s reasonable just to do something. It’s very clear that Washington isn’t about to step up with some bipartisan grand plan, and something will need to be done.”
...dealers told the Fed they see a 60% probability that the central bank will buy more bonds within a year, according to the results of the Fed’s survey...
Who owns the Fed?
Does the Fed usually do what the survey tells them to?
...Even if the economy adds 150,000 jobs a month,
“it’s difficult to say economic activity is going to plow ahead,”
...“Instead, we’re going to have modest growth,
and in that environment the odds of QE are higher.”
...Economists say the U.S. needs to add at least 250,000 jobs a month for several years...
...the Fed already owns large swaths of some Treasury securities and buying more could crowd out other buyers.
...a deceleration in U.S. growth will be evident enough by March for the Fed to say there are downside risks to both unemployment and stable prices
...the Fed will have to account for this being a presidential-election year, analysts said.
The central bank historically has held off from making major policy changes to avoid an appearance of either trying to help or hurt an incumbent president.
...“If we’re staring at a deflationary abyss and teetering on the edge of recession, and there’s little to pin hopes on from Washington outside of the Fed, any action will be viewed as good action.”