One of the Fed’s most influential members left the door open for a September rate hike in an interview with CNBC on Friday.
Federal Reserve vice chair Stanley Fischer told CNBC’s Steve Liesman on Friday that it’s too “early to tell” if the market turmoil has forced the Fed from raising rates at its September meeting.
Speaking to Liesman at the Kansas City Fed’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Fischer said, “We’re still watching how it unfolds. So I wouldn’t want to go ahead and decide right now what the case is: more compelling, less compelling, etcetera.”
On Thursday, New York Fed president Bill Dudley said that the case for raising interest rates in September was now “less compelling” in the face of recent market events.
In just 5 days, stocks in the US fell about 10% with markets pointing to a number of catalysts, including a slowing economy in China and the prospect of the Fed raising interest rates for the first time since July 2006.
Over the last few days, however, US stocks have rallied back sharply and are slightly positive for the week.
Fischer stressed on Friday that the Fed would rely on “incoming data, and see what is going on now in the economy,” before making a decision on whether or not to raise interest rates.
Fischer, formerly the governor of the Bank of Israel, is seen as having significant influence on the FOMC as he is as one of the most influential academic economists in the world. Fischer was a thesis advisor for former Fed chair Ben Bernanke and taught other economic leaders including European Central Bank president Mario Draghi.
Interestingly, Fischer did allude to interest rates in the UK, where the Bank of England — seen as the only other major central bank getting close to tightening its policy stance — has rates pegged at 0.5%, and said that were the Fed to bump its target rate to 0.25%-0.50% from 0%-0.25% its effective rate would still below that set by the BoE.
Fischer is set to speak at Jackson Hole on Saturday afternoon on a panel with BoE governor Mark Carney and ECB vice president Vítor Constâncio regarding inflation dynamics.