The Fed’s Definition Of Price Stability Is Probably Different Than Yours

The Federal Reserve Act, as mandated by Congress, established a dual mandate to guide the Federal Reserve (Fed) in setting monetary policy. Price stability, one of the mandates, benefits economic growth as it allows investors, corporations, and consumers the ability to better predict future prices and therefore allocate investments and spending in a more optimal manner.
To consider why price stability is beneficial, consider an oil producer deciding whether or not to invest in a new well. To simplify the analysis, assume the producer only needs to consider three variables to properly evaluate the project: (A) investment costs (fixed/variable), (B) a reliable estimation of the amount of oil, and (C) the future price of oil. The expected return equation dictates that profits must be greater than costs (B x C must be greater than A) to forecast a profit on the investment. The company has some control over investment costs and the surveying methods to determine the success of the well, but they have little if any control over the future price of oil. Therefore, the more stable and predictable the future price of oil, the more comfort the producer can have in making its decision about a new well.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 4, 2017.