WSJ’s Greg Ip Going to The Economist

A little birdie at the WSJ told me that Greg Ip, their longtime Federal Reserve reporter, is leaving the Journal for The Economist. His new post will be U.S. economics editor, where he will cover mostly the same beat as he does now: The Federal Reserve and economic policy.

This was confirmed by Reuter’s this afternoon.

Ip is widely thought of as a direct conduit from the Fed to the financial markets via the WSJ. When the Fed wants to unofficially communicate something to the Street, Ip is their usual mechanism.

Back in the day when John Berry was at the Washington Post (he’s now at Bloomberg) the Fed had a choice of conduits to use, depending upon who their target audience was. They could either go through the Washington Post to reach policy makers, Congress and even the White House. If they needed to informally reach Bond Traders, equity buyers and Wall Street economists, then the WSJ was their preferred vehicle:

"Ip’s stories in the Journal have been widely followed by financial
market participants seeking clues into the Federal Reserve’s thinking
about interest rates and the economy.

It described the thinking of Fed officials and the likelihood they
will hold benchmark lending rates steady for now despite market
expectations of a rate hike to fight accelerating inflation. The
article was widely cited by market players on Tuesday as a factor in

Investors and economists read Ip’s stories closely for insight into
the Fed’s thinking. Many people see him as someone with strong sources
inside the U.S. central bank and Wall Street, making him a conduit for
the Fed’s messages to financial markets."

Regardless of Ips’ departure, the Fed conduit is likely to remain at the WSJ: It is still the paper of record for Wall Street, and was long before Ip: Alan Murray before him (and before him, Gerald Seib?).

There are numerous other reporters likely to step into Ip’s shoes. (Sudeep Reddy or Phil Izzo are two possible candidates).

Although I have occasionally chastised Ip — mostly for unemployment and inflation generalizations — I have found him to be a fine reporter. In addition to his duties at the Journal, he also regularly contributed to Real Time Economics, one of the blogs at DJ.


Which is Wrong: Data on Growth or Employment?   (April 2007)

What is the Fed Really Thinking? (March 2007)

Fed reporter Ip to leave WSJ, join Economist
Robert MacMillan
Reuters, Tue Jun 17, 2008 2:12pm EDT


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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Jim Haygood commented on Jun 17

    If the dollar were repegged to gold, or even to a bimetallic standard, Fed watching would be as simple as monitoring the Treasury’s inventories, the same as we monitor Comex warehouse stocks.

    Ben, the guvnors, and their phalanx of PhD Econs could return to the labor force to perform socially productive work. Greg Ip could investigate crime, instead of serving as spokesman for its capos. We, and they, would all be better people for it. Amen.

  2. VennData commented on Jun 17

    Translating Greenspeak was easy. Greg Ip could just make up anything.

    Fed Chairman Bernanke, on the other hand, is much more difficult, it’s hard to get through one of his zany routines without busting a gut.

    I bet Greg’s sick of the Fed beat. What better way to see what’s out there than the Economist? He can hang out there while he checks out those juicy opportunities in the front page(s)like: Assistant to Agricultural Minister of Bermuda or… Pension Counselor for well-known Scandinavian Womens Olympic team.

    When Bernanke said he was worried about inflation at Hah-vahd, he was just making it up. It wasn’t a speech, it was improv. After this term, look for him nightly at Second City’s Donny’s Skybox.

  3. Sri commented on Jun 17

    This question is about todays data:
    PPI going up but CPI is stable:

    Can somebody explain this conundrum? Wholesale inflation is increasing. CPI excluding food and energy is stable around 2%. Corporate profits are not dropping?

    How can this be possible, if the inputs to make the products ar going up but the companies are not passing costs to the public(core CPI stble). But the corporate profits are not falling?

    Some thing must be wrong here. We must not be measuring things properly. My guess is either profits are bogus or costs of the finished goods is bogus?

    or Am I smoking Pot?

  4. Mark E Hoffer commented on Jun 18

    maybe Ip missed(?) this pow-wow:

    By Joanne Morrison

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The New York Federal Reserve’s closed-door rule making with top players in the massive $60 trillion credit default swaps market came under legal fire on Sunday, as a fair finance activist filed a complaint questioning why it was done in the dark.

    “The Federal Reserve seems to think it can engage in rule making in secret only with the industry,” said Matthew Lee, executive director of the New York-based non-profit group Inner City Press/Community on the Move.

    Lee filed the administrative complaint on Sunday with both the New York Fed and the Federal Reserve Board in Washington. In the complaint, he demanded that the central bankers explain why the meetings earlier this month were private and requested copies of all communications and details about the New York Fed-sponsored talks.

    Officials at the Federal Reserve could not immediately be reached for comment.

    The meetings were held with more than a dozen companies led by investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The companies — which account for the bulk of business in the $60 trillion market — met to help set new rules for credit default swaps trading, including the establishment of a clearinghouse.

    Credit default swaps are privately negotiated transactions used by companies to hedge against default risks. Over the past decade, the market has grown exponentially, from about $1 trillion to $60 trillion.

    Lee, referring to the Fed-led rescue of investment bank Bear Stearns by JPMorgan Chase & Co, said, “It was one thing to bail out Bear Stearns without any comments from the public. Now the Fed is trying to bail out or benefit 17 of the largest financial institutions behind closed doors.”

    Citing the federal Administrative Procedures Act, he said it was illegal to have conducted the meetings. Continued…

  5. KJ Foehr commented on Jun 18


    RBS issues global stock and credit crash alert
    By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
    Last Updated: 11:44pm BST 17/06/2008
    “The Royal Bank of Scotland has advised clients to brace for a full-fledged crash in global stock and credit markets over the next three months as inflation paralyses the major central banks.

    “A very nasty period is soon to be upon us – be prepared,” said Bob Janjuah, the bank’s credit strategist.

    A report by the bank’s research team warns that the S&P 500 index of Wall Street equities is likely to fall by more than 300 points to around 1050 by September as “all the chickens come home to roost” from the excesses of the global boom, with contagion spreading across Europe and emerging markets.

    Such a slide on world bourses would amount to one of the worst bear markets over the last century. …”

  6. me commented on Jun 18

    I like IP but the Economist? A weekly that is outdated before it hits the stands? Does anybody still read that>

    On the other hand it was obvious he was leaving because Sudeep Reddy has been featured and done a very good job.

    It is troubling that the good reporters seem to be leaving. Pretty soon O’Reilly and Hannity will be giving us our news.

    Here is his bio”

    HOMETOWN: Arlington, Texas

    EDUCATION/CAREER TRACK: Graduated from Brown University with a degree in history and biomedical ethics. Joined The Dallas Morning News business desk in 2001, covering tech start-ups, the energy industry and the intersection of business and politics in Texas.

    MOST UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE ON THE JOB: Landing on the helipad of a flooded New Orleans hospital after Hurricane Katrina, and staying to tell the story of its evacuation.


    IF I HAD TWO SPARE HOURS, I WOULD: Read another newspaper, of course.

    HOW I DEFINE A TRUE TEXAN: Someone who tells it like it is.

  7. ardano commented on Jun 18

    Dear Barry:

    Great tid-bit on John Berry…for years the only reason to read the biz section of the Post. As for Ip, I agree with your view as well…and therefore read Ip all the time. I also like David Wessel. I don’t always agree with what he says, but he writes well.

    I am also struck by two of the comments from my fellow TBP readers.

    I agree with Sri and the importance of more reporting on the NY Fed’s Sunday meeting regarding derivatives. In addition, the RBS call is also important, although I wonder if its a contra indicator. I have not read the full report, but from what’s been reported it seems as though the reason for a global stock and credit crash is already known. Rather than a crash, I’m more inclined to consider more of what we’ve had.

    best to all

  8. Average Joe commented on Jun 18

    The mantle passed to Steve Liesman some months ago.

  9. tom a taxpayer commented on Jun 18

    Thanks, Mark, for that news article on the closed-door Fed meeting with the usual suspects. It’s nice to see a David (Matthew Lee) fight the Goliath Fed and the Wall Street gang. It will be interesting to see how this story develops.

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