Fed Wants Inflation Now, Will Clean Up ‘Mess’ Later
The Federal Reserve and Chairman Ben Bernanke not only are willing to tolerate inflation but actually are trying to create it, with a “mess” left behind for their successors to clean up, Pimco’s Mohamed El-Erian told CNBC.
The reason, the Pimco CEO said, is that the risks outweigh the rewards as the central bank tries to stimulate an economy that still is foundering three years after the financial crisis recession ostensibly ended.
El-Erian has called the policy a “reverse Volcker moment,” in reference to former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, who rose rates and deliberately put the nation into recession in the early 1980s to control runaway inflation.
“Not only will they tolerate higher inflation, not only will they wish for higher inflation, but they actually may target higher inflation,” El-Erian, who helps run the largest bond fund in the world, said during a “Squawk Box” interview.
In an unprecedented move, the Fed last week announced it was embarking on a third round of quantitative easing that will continue until the economy reaches an unspecified target in the jobless rate.
The unemployment rate is mired at 8.1 percent while core inflation — excluding volatile food and energy prices — remains within the Fed’s desired range of 2 percent. Economic growth, meanwhile, was just 1.7 percent in the second quarter.