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As recently as last June, Powell told Congress he expected normalization of the Fed’s balance sheet would likely take three or four years. The Fed next meets in March, and has further meetings scheduled for late April and mid-June. “The groundwork is now explicitly laid for a 2019 taper, and possibly cessation of run-off by the end of the year,” said Jon Hill, vice president of the U.S. rates strategy team at BMO Capital Market. The Fed built up its balance sheet in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, buying trillions of dollars of bonds in an effort to push down longer-run borrowing costs because it had already slashed short-term borrowing costs to near zero.

It began retreating from crisis-era policy in 2015 first by raising interest rates and then in October 2017 by allowing its balance sheet to slowly shrink by no longer replacing all maturing bonds with an equal amount of new bonds, The monthly runoff was capped at $50 billion to minimize any impact on financial markets, plated golf bag cufflinks But late last year, prominent investors took to blaming the Fed’s balance sheet runoff for market volatility, President Donald Trump took up the drumbeat against the program in December, tweeting at the Fed to “stop with the 50 B’s” - a reference to the $50 billion monthly cap..

More recently, economists have begun to pencil in bigger balance sheets as well, with JP Morgan’s chief U.S. economist this week predicting the Fed would end up with a $3.5 trillion balance sheet. Powell made clear that any decision on the balance sheet was tied to market plumbing and bank requirements, and was not a referendum on the state of the economy. Still, he did not rule out any future adjustments to the balance sheet, including to offset economic threats. “We will not hesitate to make changes in light of economic and financial developments,” he said. “This does not mean we would use the balance sheet as an active tool, but occasional changes could be warranted.”.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and China opened a pivotal round of high-level talks on Wednesday aimed at bridging deep differences over China’s intellectual property and technology transfer practices and easing a months-long tariff war, Cabinet-level officials, led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, met in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next plated golf bag cufflinks to the White House, with only a month left to reach a deal before a March 2 U.S, deadline to increase tariffs on Chinese goods..

But details of the closed-door talks were scant, with official statements seen as unlikely before they conclude on Thursday. A USTR spokeswoman declined comment on the discussions. The talks began with an awkward silence on both sides of a long negotiating table during a photo opportunity, broken when Lighthizer made joking remarks about table positioning and appearing in photographs of a dinner between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in December. It was at that meeting in Buenos Aires that leaders of the world’s two largest economies called a 90-day truce to try to work out trade differences through negotiations. Wednesday’s meeting was the highest-level gathering since then.

Liu, who is Xi’s top economic plated golf bag cufflinks adviser, is expected to meet with Trump on Thursday, Seated next to Liu was People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang, a reform-minded official has advocated further opening of China’s financial services markets, with officials from the Finance and Commerce ministries also present, Trump’s top trade, finance and economic officials flanked Lighthizer on the U.S, side, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House advisers Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro..

The talks began two days after the United States charged Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, with conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran by doing business through a subsidiary it tried to hide. Meng was arrested in Canada on Dec. 1 at the request of the United States, which is seeking to have her extradited. Mnuchin and Ross have insisted that there is no link between the trade talks and the Huawei case. The talks in Washington are expected to be tense, with little indication so far that Chinese officials are willing to address core U.S. demands to fully protect American intellectual property rights and end policies that Washington has said force U.S. companies to transfer technology to Chinese firms.

The U.S, complaints, along with accusations of Chinese cyber theft of U.S, trade secrets and a systematic campaign to acquire U.S, technology firms, were used by the Trump administration to justify punitive U.S, tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports, Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on $200 billion of goods to 25 percent from 10 percent on March 2 if an agreement cannot be reached, He has also threatened new tariffs on the remainder of Chinese goods shipped to the United States, China has retaliated with plated golf bag cufflinks tariffs of its own, but has suspended some and is allowing some purchases of U.S, soybeans during the talks..



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