Dallas Fed's Fisher: Rate Hike May Come Early Next Year

Friday, 01 Aug 2014 10:30 AM

By Dan Weil

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Dallas Federal President Richard Fisher says a strengthening economy may lead the Fed to raise interest rates sooner than many analysts expect.

"Sometime early next year, I do believe it's possible," he told CNBC. Many economists predict the Fed will move in the second or third quarter.

The central bank has kept its federal-funds rate target at a record low of zero to 0.25 percent since December 2008.

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"I feel personally we are closer to liftoff than we were, than people felt we were, than the market assumed we were, sometime late in 2015," Fisher said. "I believe we moved that forward significantly."

The economy grew 4 percent in the second quarter, and many analysts expect growth of 3 percent or more for the rest of the year. "Things are moving in the right direction, and that's good for the real economy," Fisher said.

His comments came before the news that non-farm payrolls rose 209,000 in July, a bit less than expected, and that the unemployment rate climbed to 6.2 percent from 6.1 percent in June.

Meanwhile, MIT economist Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the IMF, says the Fed isn't taking strong enough action to reduce risk in the financial system.

"Senior Fed officials seem to have slipped back into their pre-2008 ways, ignoring concerns about dangerous financial-sector behavior, even when those concerns are expressed by members of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee," he writes on Project Syndicate.

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