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Fed’s Fisher Says He Backs Tapering QE as Economy Improves

Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher smiles during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher, who doesn’t vote on monetary policy this year, said he favors scaling back the Fed’s monthly bond-buying if the economy makes the kind of progress officials are currently expecting.

“I agree fully with the chairman that we should dial back on the stimulus” should “we achieve what the 19 of us forecast,” Fisher said today in a speech in London. The central bank is currently purchasing $85 billion in bonds every month.

Chairman Ben S. Bernanke last week said the Fed may start slowing the pace of its bond-buying program later this year and end it entirely around mid-2014 if the economy gets on a path of sustainable growth. Fisher has been among the most vocal critics within the Fed of the central bank’s unprecedented measures to bolster the economy.

Investors shouldn’t overreact to the central bank’s plans to reduce the pace of asset purchases, Fisher said in an interview with the Financial Times published today on its web site. Investors behaved like “feral hogs” after the June 19 comments by Bernanke, he said, according to the newspaper.

U.S. stocks retreated, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a nine-week low, as Chinese equities entered a bear market amid concern a cash crunch will hurt the world’s second-largest economy and speculation increased that the U.S. will begin curbing stimulus.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.5 percent to 1,584.25 at 2:48 p.m. in New York today. The index is down 2.7 percent since June 19.

Policy makers last week raised their growth forecasts for next year to a range of 3 percent to 3.5 percent and reduced their outlook for unemployment to as low as 6.5 percent.

“I’ve not been a fan of this program,” Fisher said today. The economy will need more incentives from fiscal policy makers to reach the point of full employment, he added.

“What I wish to see is a marriage of prudent monetary policy with prudent fiscal policy,” he said.

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