As anyone who has ever been to East London knows, the favourite song at West Ham United Football Clu...
As anyone who has ever been to East London knows, the favourite song at West Ham United Football Club is "I'm forever blowing bubbles".
Now, I doubt the Federal Reserve Chairman has ever heard of West Ham, let alone its song, but in delivering this week's testimony, he might as well have been wearing a claret and blue scarf.
Barely has the dust settled on the equity market bubble of the late 1990s then another is springing up in the bond market - and in all probability yet another in the currency markets.
Just as then, Greenspan is emerging as the champion of irrational expectations. Except this time it is irrational pessimism that seems to be driving the bond market. To accept bond prices at these levels requires a very pessimistic view of the likely strength of the unfolding cycle.
Having first removed the downside skew in its assessment and then dropped the "considerable period" phrase from its statements, the Fed did appear, albeit very cautiously, to be preparing the markets for the inevitable. Not anymore.
Perhaps this is unfair. In reality, it is the market reaction to Greenspan's comments, rather than what he actually said or did not say, that is the real issue here. But Greenspan is the undisputed master at massaging financial market expectations and he is well aware of his influence, so he chooses his words very carefully.
On the face it, Greenspan's testimony was unremarkable. He stuck pretty close to the text of the last Federal Reserve rate-setting committee statement.
But he made a couple of significant, if subtle, changes leaving viewers and traders in no doubt that any suggestion the Federal Reserve was about to begin raising rates, as some had been predicting to be as early as June, was very wide of the mark. And if the G7 is worried about the dollar's slide, Greenspan certainly is not.
True, Greenspan did revise up growth expectations fairly sharply - the Fed now looks for growth in the region of 4.5%-5% this year - but he does not expect to see a rise in inflation from its current "very low level" for at least another year, meaning the Fed can be patient.
So, Fedologists concluded, we can equate 'patience' with 'considerable period'. Bond yields promptly fell across the world, taking levels back to those prevailing before that infamous phrase was dropped.
As if that was not enough for one afternoon's work, his characterisation of the dollar's decline as gradual and so far at least benign, if not actually positive for the current account deficit, was seen as a green light to sell the dollar again.
To put all this in context, we are only in the second month of 2004 and the various Federal Reserve statements in that time have led us a merry dance right back to where we started.
So, why the apparent U-turn? The short answer is that the need to normalise US policy is being felt most keenly outside the US. The message from Greenspan is that the euro is Europe's problem and the yen is Japan's problem.
As he noted: "All told, our accommodative monetary policy stance to date does not seem to have generated excessive volumes of liquidity or credit."
The Fed's Loan Officer survey showed the first increase in corporate appetite for borrowing in three years, but also indicated weakening demand for credit on the part of households.
In fact, the broadest measure of money demand actually fell towards the end of 2003, despite the looseness of policy. And as Greenspan has repeatedly noted, inflation is at a multi-decade low. Where's the fire?
Greenspan can, with a great deal of justification, argue that he is only chairman of one central bank; he is not a modern day Atlas. But he must be aware that his words and inactions have repercussions for the rest of the world - and therein lies the rub.
The decline in the dollar will do little to reduce the US's current account deficit if it pushes its main trading partners back into stagnation.
The renewed upward pressure on the euro is threatening to burn a large hole in Europe's recovery and the Bank of Japan's reserves.
Fourth quarter GDP figures in Europe, also released this week, were hardly inspiring, and provided scant evidence of the long-anticipated revival in domestic demand. And easy Fed money, despite the Bank of England's best efforts, translates into easy global money, much of which is finding its way to China - but that's another story.
Danny Gabay, joint founder, Fathom Consulting