The U.S. economic recovery hasn't reached the self-sustaining momentum deemed necessary to warrant a tapering of the Federal Reserve's stimulus program in 2014, according to Australia's Westpac Bank - a minority view at odds with mainstream expectations.
"This view is driven by our sense that both employment data and inflation measures simply do not justify Fed tapering any time soon," Rob Rennie, Westpac's global head of FX strategy in Sydney, told CNBC in emailed comments last week.
Expectations are building that the Fed may start cutting its $85-billion-a-month bond-purchase program earlier than expected, possibly as soon as next week's policy meeting. Recent data indicated economic activity has remained resilient despite October's bruising budget battles culminating in a government shutdown that hurt confidence among businesses and consumers, while rising mortgage rates weighed on the housing market.
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"If we are wrong and the Fed does taper, it will be a 'start-stop' affair and it will be at least partially replaced by other forms of monetary stimulus," Westpac's Rennie said. "By 2015, we do see the U.S. economy getting closer to escape velocity and taper happening then."
Westpac's contrarian view goes against the grain of the majority of economists, some of which believe the Fed will start dialing back stimulus as soon as next week's meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).