Fed is creating uncertainty: Goldman’s Zoellick

The ambiguous monetary policies implemented by central banks, like the U.S Federal Reserve, are beginning to dampen sentiment in the corporate world, according to the former president of the World Bank.

Robert Zoellick, now the chairman of Goldman Sachs International Advisers, told CNBC Thursday that the current challenge facing policymakers was how they communicated their future strategies and how that was impacting productivity and the fundamentals of growth in the business community.

“I personally think that you’re getting to a point, particularly in the United States, where the QE (quantitative easing) policies are creating greater uncertainty, And that affects the business climate,” he said, speaking at a Goldman Sachs symposium being held in London.

“So far in the United States you still have sort of reasonable growth based on the consumption sector, which is based on income and that’s based on jobs. But, it’s been the slowest recovery in the United States ever….so I think these are some of the fundamentals that frankly go beyond what central bankers can address.”

Zoellick said you could argue that the Federal Reserve is acting too slow in ending its era of easy monetary policing. He added that there were scenarios that could significantly surprise investors and global asset markets as the Fed begins to normalize interest rates.

“If the U.S. economy does start to pick up more over the course of 2016 and 2017 could (the Fed) be caught behind the curve?,” he asked. “That is something that the markets are not at all ready for.”

He signaled that forecasts from the central bank still predict the U.S. will have a “negative” real interest rate a year from now. A real interest rate has been adjusted to remove the effects of inflation to reflect the real cost of funds that a borrower faces.

“Given the fact the you have about (a) 5.1 percent unemployment (rate), that’s a question mark about whether they’ll (the Fed) get caught behind the curve,” he added.

There seemed to be little ambiguity from Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday when she said that December would be a “live possibility” for a rate hike if the upcoming data are supportive.

Testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, her words were taken as decidedly hawkish and the probability of a Fed rate hike next month increased to about 60 percent afterwards, according to the CME Group.

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