An inveterate Federal Reserve advocate of tighter financial conditions on Wednesday renewed his call for higher benchmark interest rates and shrinking the Fed's balance sheet to pre-financial crisis levels.
With the United States and many world economies experiencing ... growth and with the U.S. financial crisis over, I would expect to see a change in policy in which stimulus put in place at the height of the crisis would be throttled back, Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig said in prepared remarks to the London School of Economics.
Hoenig is not a voter on the Fed's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee this year.
The Kansas City Fed chief has previously called for a modest increase in borrowing costs and expressed his opposition to the Fed's $600 billion bond buying program. His questioning of Fed policy adds to the voices of several other Fed officials who have in recent days called for the program to be scaled back or for the U.S. central bank to tighten financial conditions soon.
The Fed chopped rates to zero in December 2008 and will have bought a cumulative $2.3 trillion in longer-term securities to spur U.S. economic growth when its latest bond-buying program winds up at the end of June.
Despite skepticism from Hoenig and others about the Fed's ultra-easy money, the U.S. central bank is on track to see its most recent securities purchases through to conclusion. The Fed has given no indication it is in any hurry to shrink its balance sheet.
The Fed's adherence to an exceptionally accommodative stance puts it at odds with other major central banks around the world which have begun to tighten financial conditions or are poised to do so in the near future.
Hoenig said there is already evidence Fed policies are fueling imbalances and inflationary pressures.
The longer policy remains as it is, the greater the likelihood those pressures will build and ultimately undermine world growth, he said.
(Reporting by David Milliken, writing by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Neil Stempleman and Jan Paschal)