Market analysts for the most part believe the launch of another round of quantitative easing is a done deal for the Federal Reserve which concludes its FOMC meeting Thursday.
The only question is in what form, for how long and will it prove effective in lowering the U.S. unemployment rate?
John Higgins with research firm Capital Economics suggested the Fed will acquire additional mortgage-backed securities while the acquisition of longer-term Treasury securities is expected to play a minor role.
"Our best guess is that the Fed will pledge to buy at least $500 billion of assets. In a departure from QE1 and QE2, however, it may announce a more open-ended program, with purchases of at least $50 billion per month until it decides that sufficient progress has been made in reducing the unemployment rate," Higgins wrote.
Analysts with RBS Securities also are acting as if quantitative easing is a done deal with the Federal Open Market Committee meeting ending tomorrow.
The Stamford, Conn.-based company launched a publication called the RBS CIO Executive Brief this week, with the first edition focused on QE3's potential impact on risk assets. The first publication focuses on the idea that the Fed on Thursday will "announce open-ended quantitative easing," RBS wrote.
The pub essentially outlines analysts' projections and gives clients ideas on the best potential trades for their markets, the research firm said.
Even with many analysts seeing QE3 on the direct horizon, monetary economist Michael Woodford's objection to another round of easing at the Fed's recent Jackson Hole conference is drumming up attention.
Capital Economics dived into Woodford's work, concluding that he views another round of asset purchases as uninspiring since he believes there's a general lack of evidence that previous central bank asset purchases actually stimulated spending.
Woodford also attacked near-zero interest rate policies.
"The problem as Woodford sees it is that the Fed has been very careful to stress that it is still committed to low inflation, even going as far as to make the 2% target explicit," Capital Economics wrote. "That suggests the forward-looking near-zero rate commitment mainly reflects the Fed's greater pessimism about the prospects for economic growth rather than a change in the criterion used to set interest rates."