Fed’s Fisher Says Clarifying Guidance With Numbers Would Be Hard

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher said it would be difficult to provide more clarity to investors on the Fed’s policy intentions with more quantitative guidance.

“We need to signal to the markets a little more clearly” and “I think it’s hard to do it in quantitative terms,” Fisher said in a meeting with reporters after giving a speech today in Austin, Texas.

Fed officials have committed to keep their benchmark interest rate close to zero “at least as long” as unemployment is above 6.5 percent and the outlook for inflation doesn’t exceed 2.5 percent. With the jobless rate down to 6.6 percent last month, Fed officials are considering changing the way they communicate their intentions to the markets, minutes of their January meeting showed.

“Do you move that number?” Fisher said, referring to the unemployment-rate threshold. “Then you have to think, gosh, how do you trust these guys who keep moving things around?”

Fisher said that he has previously advocated that the chairman give a press conference after every meeting instead of the current schedule of quarterly briefings.

“If we do choose to approach this from a qualitative side, how do we do it without just adding and adding and adding to the statement?” he said.

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