28 Feb 2013
Markets have been roiled over the last 48 hours by the three B’s: Berlusconi, Bernanke and Boehner. The indecisive Italian election outcome and the strength of the anti-austerity vote has many traders thinking that the whole eurozone issue is not receding in the rear-view mirror quite as quickly as some had hoped. EURUSD fell by more than two cents on Monday afternoon as news from Italy was digested. Stock markets also fell sharply, along with industrial commodities. In contrast, gold held onto its early-day gains.
Ben Bernanke therefore had an important task to do in his Congressional testimony yesterday: reassuring markets that, contrary to the head fake in the last batch of FOMC minutes, easy money policies will last for a long time to come yet.
He didn’t disappoint – noting “we [the FOMC] do not see the potential costs of the increased risk-taking in some financial markets as outweighing the benefits of promoting a stronger economic recovery… Inflation is currently subdued, and inflation expectations