Fed's Kaplan says central bank should start tapering in October

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Federal Reserve should announce its timeline for beginning to reduce its massive bondholding next month and start tapering them in October, Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan said on Wednesday.

“It would be my view that if the economy unfolds the way I expect. … I would be in favor or announcing a plan at the September meeting and beginning tapering in October,” Kaplan said in an interview with CNBC, in his most precise comments on when the central bank should begin dialing back its extraordinary support of the pandemic-hit economy.

Kaplan said there were a range of views on the rate-setting committee but that he thinks the Fed’s $120 billion a month in asset purchases do not help an economy that is now struggling with supply, rather than demand, issues.

He also warned that excessive risk taking, elevated house prices and excesses and imbalances in the economy called for swift action.

“These purchases are not well-suited to the environment we’re in now and like a doctor who’s prescribing medication to a patient that’s been through a trauma, if you start to see side effects and you don’t think the medication is very effective … I think best thing to do is, early, begin weaning off that medication,” Kaplan said.

The Dallas Fed chief also repeated he would like the reduction in bond buying to take approximately eight months, and said tapering soon so would give the Fed more flexibility to be “patient” on raising interest rates.

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