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Time to Stop Expecting So Much From the Fed?

Justin Menza
June 25, 2012

Markets have hung on every word from the world’s central bankers since the financial crisis hit in 2008. But now, some economists — and even central bankers themselves — suggest it may be time to stop putting so much stock in their powers and prognostications.

“It’s an illusion that central banks, by pumping money in [to the economy], can create real economic growth and they can redress these huge debt imbalances," John Browne, an economist with at Euro Pacific Capital, told CNBC’s Closing Bell. "Basically, they’ve created a crisis of confidence for consumers worldwide.”

While some like Goldman Sachs strategist Jim O'Neill told CNBC the US is the bigger threat, Browne is focused on Europe.

“Europe is heading for depression and the US is heading for severe recession,” Browne said. And "the Fed can do nothing.”

Even the central bank for central banks, the Bank for International Settlements, is playing down the power of the Fed and other central banks.

“It would be a mistake to think that central bankers can use their balance sheets to solve every economic and financial problem,” the BIS said in its annual report.

“In fact, near-zero policy rates, combined with abundant and nearly unconditional liquidity support, weaken incentives for the private sector to repair balance sheets and for fiscal authorities to limit their borrowing requirements,” the report said.

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