After witnessing three months of economic and political turbulence, more financial leaders see some type of government stimulus necessary and coming, but whether it will actually be a third round of quantitative easing — or something similar — remains unknown. Mohamed el-Erian, CEO of global bond trader PIMCO, published an op-ed in the Huffington Post calling for Federal Reserve officials to use the tools they have left while they still can. He called for political parties to breach differences and come up with a solidified economic plan. Further, el-Erian cites the nation’s housing woes as a major source of macroeconomic stress. Widescale political maneuvers, such as supporting refinancing initiatives via government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are another option that needs to be considered. El-Erian sees two current developments as essentially positive: the European Central Bank’s decision to expand the purchasing of debt issued by member governments, and the Fed’s willingness to keep the fed funds rate near zero for another two years. “Central bank policies are a means to an end, and not an end in themselves,” he wrote. “They can only provide a bridge — and it is often a costly one — to better policy making on the part of other parts of government. That is why President Obama’s Sept. 5 speech is so critical.” In an article from blogger John Harwood of The New York Times, el-Erian went a step further saying the economy needs a few essential ingredients to grow: jobs and housing. To stimulate housing, the PIMCO CEO recommends the government ease back on refinancing rules for homeowners who are current but unable to meet borrowing criteria. Earlier this month, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, noted the Fed’s willingness to keep interest rates near zero, suggests the bar is lower for another round of quantitative easing. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.
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