Central bankers from around the globe gather later this week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but for once, the absence of the Federal Reserve chairman means their annual get-together is not likely to spoil the summer vacation of traders on Wall Street.
Fed chief Ben Bernanke declined his annual invitation, breaking a 25-year tradition, and Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen – a top contender to replace Bernanke in January 2014 – will only be moderating a panel.
As a result, there is no keynote Fed speech to open the conference, and the chances of a deliberate effort to signal an upcoming change in U.S. monetary policy have been lowered dramatically.
In prior years, Bernanke has used the venue to prepare financial markets for shifts in the Fed’s policy stance.
“In the past, the news that has come out of Jackson Hole has been because the principle presenters are in a position of policy prominence, and it seems to be lighter … this year,” said Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust in Chicago.