Europe Economy

This Summer Brings Back 'Nasty Memories': Analyst

Every time the Federal Reserve ends its money-printing program, under which it buys Treasurys to keep market rates low, the economy "the economy seems to fall apart like a pile of bricks,"  Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets, told on Thursday.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on his re-nomination to the position.
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The Fed's second round of quantitative easing, dubbed QE2 in the markets, ends on June 30 but Gijsels evoked what happened last summer, when the first round of the program finished only to see the central bank launching the second immediately after.

"In this way this summer brings back some nasty memories of the summer we had last year," Gijsels wrote in an email interview.

At the end of August last year, the economy was slowing and words like "recession," "depression" and "inflation" were top of the news, he said. 

"A lot of market watchers were also arguing that the Fed was running out of ammo to stimulate the world's largest economy. It may be the heat, but it certainly has a familar ring to it," Gijsels added.

The way authorities dealt with the financial crisis was similar to someone filling a pool with more water as soon as underwater stones begin to show, to hide the stones so the pool looks smooth again, he said.

"There are problems in the system. To hide the stones, we add more water. First by lowering interest rates to almost zero. After that by QE1 and QE2. However, each time the problems grow larger and become once again visible," Gijsels wrote.

"The Fed has strongly argued against starting QE3. But who can be really sure that they will not once again change their mind if push comes to shove?" he added.

The end of the Fed's program is "the most important game in town" said Gijsels, who has argued for a long time that the strength of the economy and markets will be visible only "when all the exceptional measures are taken off."