US Fed Governor Waller urges faster pace of tapering as inflation surges

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 6.2 per cent in October from a year earlier, the strongest annual gain in more than 30 years, according to the US Labor Department.
Christopher Waller
US Federal Reserve Governor, Christopher Waller

Washington, Nov 20 : US Federal Reserve Governor, Christopher Waller has urged the central bank to speed up the pace of tapering asset purchases in response to the surging inflation.

“To me, the inflation data are starting to look a lot more like a big snowfall that will stay on the ground for a while, and that development is affecting my expectations of the level of monetary accommodation that is needed going forward,” Waller said in prepared remarks delivered at the Center for Financial Stability in New York.

“The timing of any policy action is a decision for the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee), but for my part the rapid improvement in the labor market and the deteriorating inflation data have pushed me towards favouring a faster pace of tapering and a more rapid removal of accommodation in 2022,” he added, referring to the Fed’s policy-making committee.

Waller pushed back the argument that monetary policy does not need to respond to temporary price pressures connected to supply constraints, Xinhua news agency reported.

“All shocks tend to be transitory and eventually fade away; by this logic, the Fed should never respond to any shocks, but it sometimes does, as it should,” he said.

James Bullard, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, on Tuesday also voiced support for speeding up the pace of tapering asset purchases.

“We could move faster — we kept optionality on this that we could speed up the taper if it is appropriate,” Bullard told Bloomberg Television, adding that he had proposed to end asset purchases at the end of the first quarter in 2022.

The Fed began earlier this week to reduce its monthly asset purchase program of $120 billion by $15 billion. The central bank will make another $15 billion cut to the monthly purchases in mid-December. At this pace, the tapering would be complete by June 2022.

Jason Furman, former Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, also urged the Fed to accelerate its taper starting around January 2022 with the aim of ending asset purchases by March.

“This would mean both that policy is not increasingly accommodative and it would create more space for earlier rate hikes,” Furman wrote in a recent analysis, noting current US monetary policy is “more accommodative” than it was a year ago due to higher inflation.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 6.2 per cent in October from a year earlier, the strongest annual gain in more than 30 years, according to the US Labor Department.

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