2 powerful central bankers to skip Jackson Hole

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi (right) and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda are not attending the symposium hosted by the Kansas City Fed. (AFP pic)

WASHINGTON: Two of the world’s most powerful central bankers facing deep policy challenges will not be attending the Federal Reserve’s annual conference in Jackson Hole this week.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda both elected to skip the event after occasionally attending the symposium hosted by the Kansas City Fed in the past.

This year’s gathering in Wyoming is taking place against a backdrop of volatile financial markets and rising fears of recession.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will kick off the symposium’s formal proceedings on Friday with an address on the conference’s theme of challenges for monetary policy. Outgoing Bank of England Governor Mark Carney will deliver the luncheon speech.

The line-up of attendees also includes one of President Donald Trump’s picks to be a Fed governor, Chris Waller, who is attending in his capacity as research director of the St Louis Fed. Trump’s other pick, Judy Shelton, is not going. Neither have been formally nominated for the two remaining vacancies at the Fed Board in Washington.

Trump has relentlessly attacked Powell and the Fed for raising interest rates too far and too fast.

Other key figures joining the prestigious policy symposium in the remote splendour of Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park include:

  • Three executive board members of the European Central Bank: Benoit Coeure, Sabine Lautenschlaeger and Philip Lane. ECB director-general for Economics Frank Smets is also attending and will be a discussant for one of the papers to be presented to the conference on Friday.
  • Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz as well as Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe and his New Zealand counterpart Adrian Orr.
  • Former Fed Chairman Janet Yellen.
  • Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Norman Chan is also making the trip, as well as the heads of the Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, South African, Finnish and Argentine central banks, among others.