Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill says the Federal Reserve is doing the right thing to keep interest rates steady.
He counters a Barron’s story arguing that the Fed should raise rates to prevent an asset-market bubble.
“Somewhere down the road, the gist of the piece is kind of right,” O’Neill told CNBC.
“But this is probably more of a philosophical side of an editorial stance rather than any pressing concern.”
The bottom line is that inflationary signals just haven’t arrived yet, he says.
“If we have three quarters of consecutive above-trend growth, then you’re talking something different. But at this stage. . . I think it’s a bit premature.”
The U.S. government must be careful not to reverse fiscal and monetary stimulus too quickly, lest the country end up like Japan, O’Neill says.
One of the reasons why Japan’s economy has stagnated during the past 15 years is that it tightened fiscal and monetary policy too early, in the mid-1990s.
“If the U.S. tightens prematurely, simply because of gold or the dollar, you could end up with the same problem. So they’ve got to be really careful,” O’Neill says.
Barron’s Andrew Bary sees it differently.
“It's time for the Federal Reserve to stop talking about an ‘exit strategy’ and to start implementing one,” he writes.
“The call to action is clear: gold, oil, and other commodities are rising, the dollar is falling and the stock market is surging.”
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