Fed’s Kaplan worried about inflation, wants to announce taper in September

Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan wants the central bank to announce next month that it will tighten its monetary reins.

One of its reasons is the general belief that the economy can take a little less help from the Fed. But Kaplan also said he was concerned about inflation and the “excessive risk appetite” that “distorted” financial markets, particularly in bonds.

“Based on everything I’ve seen, at this point I don’t see anything that would cause me to materially change my mind,” Kaplan told CNBC Steve Liesman. “I continue to believe that we would be well served at the September meeting to announce a plan to adjust purchases and begin implementation in October or shortly thereafter.”

Kaplan spoke of the Fed’s critical “taper” question – when will it be appropriate to withdraw the $ 120 billion-per-month bond purchases it has been making since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. His remarks come the day before a closely watched speech by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, who will speak at the Jackson Hole virtual symposium.

Earlier in the day, CNBC aired an interview with Kansas City Fed President Esther George, who shared similar views that she sees expansion begin soon. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard was even more aggressive with CNBC.

Both said that while rising Covid cases and its delta variant are worrying, they don’t seem to have much of an impact on the economy in the broadest sense.

“What we are seeing is businesses and consumers learning to adapt and get on with their lives, and they are realizing that this is not going to be neat and tidy or a straight line,” said Kaplan. “It will come in fits and starts and you will adjust to that reality.”

However, he is concerned about the impact of the ultra-loose Fed policies on the economy.

Inflation peaked several decades in 2021, and Kaplan said rising gas and property prices are affecting lower-income communities in his district.

“What we are seeing in these communities is that inflation is disproportionately affecting them,” he said. “I think we have to take this very seriously at the Fed.”

Kaplan mentioned the knock-on effects of high property prices on rents.

He also said he saw a high level of risk-taking, particularly in the high-yielding bond markets.

For those two reasons, he believes it is time for the Fed to reverse its adjustment.

“I think we will be a lot healthier if we can get the purchases out soon and it will position us much better in the future,” he said.

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