The Federal Reserve may raise interest rates when the dust clears from its policy meeting that concludes this Thursday (Sep. 17), although that’s looking like a shaky proposition in the wake of global market turmoil and mixed economic news for the US. Meantime, at the other end of the expectations spectrum, certain quarters of the perma-bear club are considering if conditions are again ripe for more monetary easing. The Fed’s multi-phase bond-buying program ended last October by winding down the third wave of quantitative easing (QE3). Reviving the effort with QE4 faces long odds, at least for this week, but the thought has crossed the minds of certain web travelers. For some visual perspective, let’s turn to Google Trends for some charting candy.
It seems that there’s a new bull market in “QE4” web searches within the US. Although the scale is quite small (the peak is 100 for Dec. 2012 in the chart below), the latest pop so far in Sep. 2015 to 55 marks the highest level in nearly three years.
It’s best to take this data with a grain of salt–just 55 searches month-to-date for every man, woman and child in a nation of 300 million-plus? Surely there are more macro bears in America who are breathlessly trolling for insight on this facet of the central bank’s money-printing machinations. More importantly, are there any like-minded souls within the Fed with plans to push for QE4 because the economy is slipping over to the dark side again? That’s still a long-shot viewpoint, although there’s at least 55 web trawlers in the US who may think otherwise.