We’re seeing much the same approach to monetary policy around the world. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ), which has been threatening to go “full Switzerland” and start intervening in the FX market along with negative rates, briefed reporters on their possible additional policy measures. They made it clear that they’re preparing to do more. “We have a least regrets approach to thinking how much stimulus to deliver,” RBNZ Chief Economist Yuong Ha said. “We’d rather do too much too soon than too little too late.”

We heard the same line Tuesday from Fed Chair Powell. “At this early stage, I would argue that the risks of policy intervention are still asymmetric. Too little support would lead to a weak recovery…By contrast, the risks of overdoing it seem, for now, to be smaller.”

That statement can help us to understand one of the key lines in the minutes from the September meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the US central bank’s rate-setting policy board. The minutes said, “many participants noted that their economic outlook assumed additional fiscal support and that if future fiscal support was significantly smaller or arrived significantly later than they expected, the pace of the recovery could be slower than anticipated.

The phrase “significantly later than expected” is important, as it indicates the Fed views stimulus now as qualitatively different than stimulus in three months, when former VP Joe Biden will (we assume) be president. “The pace of economic improvement has moderated since the outsize gains of May and June,” Powell noted. “…a prolonged slowing in the pace of improvement over time could trigger typical recessionary dynamics, as weakness feeds on weakness.” Weak demand triggers bankruptcies and job losses, which causes demand to weaken