Former Dallas Fed president calls out central banks

Fed is absolutely to blame for global turmoil: Fmr. Fed president
Fed is absolutely to blame for global turmoil: Fmr. Fed president   

Are central banks' aggressive monetary policies to blame for the today's economic woes? Former Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert McTeer says yes.

Speaking to CNBC's "Fast Money" this week, McTeer explained that while the Fedis comprised of smart and carefully minded individuals, they dropped the ball when it comes to their current approach.

"[The Fed] waited too long to begin the tightening process," noted the former FOMC member and 36-year veteran of the Federal Reserve system. The central banker's critique echoed that of other economists, whom have argued that the trillions of cheap dollars flooding the system have exacerbated the current downturn, and made the market addicted to the liquidity.

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Known for his prolific writing and plain-speaking style while at the Fed, McTeer has been a critic of the Fed's ultra-loose monetary policy, which he previously argued stayed too low for too long.

Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen testifies before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the "Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress" in Capitol Hill, Washington February 11, 2016.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen testifies before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the "Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress" in Capitol Hill, Washington February 11, 2016.

However, McTeer admitted that bad luck and unfortunate timing has compounded the current undesirable circumstances. He told CNBC that "as soon as they took the first step [to tighten], international developments overwhelmed the situation." At that time, China's slowdown became more pronounced, upsetting markets.

McTeer further believes that the Fed's delay enabled other central banks—from Japan to the European Central Bank—to enact negative interest rates, a policy move with which he disagreed.

Now, with international markets in crisis, McTeer says Fed chair Janet Yellen needs to take a more proactive approach in addressing global concerns. The former central banker advised that "she should probably show more concern [related] to recent market turmoil" when speaking in the future.

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On Friday, international markets saw a sell-off in Asia where the Nikkei dropped 4.8 percent to 14,952, its lowest close since October, 2014. Additionally, the yen ended the week down 11 percent, unwinding some of the massive flight to safety buying that has recently boosted Japan's currency. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq all posted big gains, and snapped a five day losing streak.

At the same time, the market's latest mantra has become negative interest rates, which have been introduced in Japan and Europe. Earlier this week, Yellen refused to rule out the policy move for the world's largest economy, but acknowledged the issue needed more study.

Negative rates, however, is an idea McTeer does not endorse.

The central bank "is not going to do it, but furthermore they can't do it," he noted, speaking of the Fed's next potential move.

In McTeer's interpretation, negative rates are not an options because the Fed has adopted a new mechanical procedure for establishing the Fed funds rate, which is the interest rate that banks use to calculate overnight loans to other institutions. The rate currently calls for a positivity on bank deposits. McTeer believes that if the Fed tries to go negative, it would take years to re-work the system.