Transcripts of the monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve from 2002–2008.

I think I can say unequivocally that on the econometric side a couple of months of extra data are not going to allow us to identify these things. Now, there is an interesting coincidence that consumption was especially weak not only as oil prices were rising but as margins were increasing substantially, and there was some improvement in consumption in August, as margins shrank very dramatically and prices came down. So there could be some small nod in the direction that you suggested, but it would be hard for us to distinguish those relationships. One reason to be a little skeptical about just using a model run—model multipliers on the energy effects—has been that we don’t see the offsetting strength in drilling activity. Drilling activities improved and improved noticeably, but not as much as we would have expected especially given that far-dated futures have increased quite a bit. So there could be more restraining effects of higher oil prices this time around than has been true, on average, in the past because we’re not getting some of the natural offsets that occur.

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