The Federal Reserve "clearly missed" a chance to begin tapering its massive bond-buying program in September, Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser told CNBC on Friday.
Wall Street had widely expected the Fed to scale back its $85-billion-a-month asset purchase program known as quantitative easing (QE) in September, but held off—citing the uncertainty surrounding joblessness and the Washington fight over funding the government and increasing the debt ceiling.
"I thought we missed an opportunity to make a small gesture to begin signaling that in fact this is a dial we can move and we can adjust it and fine tune it," he said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "The economy outlook hadn't changed that much since June."
No action was taken at the central bank's two-day October meeting that ended Wednesday. Many economists now believe that tapering is off the table for the rest of this year, with March 2014 emerging as a new target for scaling-back asset purchases.
By not starting to taper, Plosser said it "signals that thinking of QE3 as some kind of thing we can move around with some precision is a very difficult thing to do." The Philadelphia Fed president is not a voting member at the Fed this year, but will be come January.
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