Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis president James Bullard said Monday that macroeconomic uncertainties from domestic and international sources are likely to "dissipate," providing for "reasonably good" economic growth and faster job gains.
However, he warned in a presentation prepared for Kentucky Day in Louisville that those uncertainties could intensify, and if that happens, "all bets are off" with regard to the timing of monetary-policy normalization, reversing the Federal Reserve Board's quantitative easing.
Bullard also made clear he distrusts core inflation indexes, which have been running well below headline inflation numbers in an expanding economy. And he reiterated that the Fed should adopt explicit inflation targeting.
Bullard, who is not a voting member of the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee this year, did not say when he thinks the Fed should start firming its loose monetary policy in the absence of greater uncertainty. But he has previously indicated he favors moving in that direction in the not-too-distant future.
Late last month, Bullard, who was an early proponent of resumed quantitative easing last summer, said that "discussion of the normalization of U.S. policy will likely return as the key issue in 2011."
"If the economy is as strong as I think it is, then it may be reasonable to send a signal to markets that we're going to start withdrawing our stimulus," he added.
Bullard said he would "start by pulling up a little bit short on the QE2 program."