Nouriel Roubini: Interest rates won't rise soon

The Federal Reserve won't likely raise interest rates anytime soon, economist Nouriel Roubini said Monday.

"Even if growth, inflation and employment data are at the right level to start hiking, the Fed would like to wait a little bit longer just to make sure that if they start hiking with the liftoff, they're not going to abort and go back to zero because otherwise they lose their credibility," he said. "There'll be a hard landing of the economy. So better be safe rather than sorry."

Economist Nouriel Roubini
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Economist Nouriel Roubini

On CNBC's "Fast Money," the chairman of Roubini Global Economics and New York University professor also said that monetary easing by central banks around the world could affect the U.S. economy.

"Suppose the rest of the world is worse than the Fed expects and suppose the dollar appreciates by another 5 to 7 percent, trade-weighted, at that point the impact on U.S. growth and on U.S. inflation could be worse than the Fed is currently expecting," he said. "That could lead the Fed to start later and much more slowly."

Central banks around the world were likely to begin monetary easing policies, Roubini predicted, "from the bank of Korea, probably the Chinese, the Swiss, the Swedes and so on."

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"So, for a while what's going to happen is that these competitive QE wars that are proxies for currency wars are going to lead to the dollar strengthening further and further," he added.

Dubbed "Dr. Doom" by some for his prescient warnings that preceded the financial crisis, Roubini challenged characterization as a pessimist.

"I've never been 'Dr. Doom.' When things were terrible, I was the first one speaking about it. Always am 'Dr. Realist,'" he said. "I think every day you have to try to figure out this world and be right, not pessimist or optimist."

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Roubini recently announced a free newsletter, "Roubini's Edge," aimed at retail investors.

"Even in the United States you're affected by what happens in the rest of the world," he said. "You need to have a basic amount of financial literacy, not only about what the U.S. economy and the Fed will do, but what happens in Europe, what happens in China, what happens in Japan, what happens in emerging markets impacts the United States through trade channels, commodity channels, financial channels.

"So, I think that any intelligent, sophisticated investor has to understand this very complicated, interdependent global economy where no country is an island, not even the United States."