Bernanke likelier to boost QE than to taper: SocGen
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will not taper the Fed's bond buying before his term ends in January, says the head of U.S. rates strategy at Societe Generale. In fact, Mary Beth Fisher says, the Fed is more likely to increase its quantitative easing program than to decrease it.
And it could all come down to internal politics, Fisher said Thursday on CNBC's "Futures Now."
"I think Bernanke was a little bit more moderate than [Janet] Yellen and [William] Dudley and [Charles] Evans and clearly [James] Bullard in this situation, with inflation very low," Fisher said, referring to other members of the Federal Open Market Committee. Fisher finds it unlikely that Bernanke would "start tapering when he knows that that core of the committee, whose new leader was about to come out of it, were against the idea."
In fact, the strategist suggests that Fed Vice Chair Yellen's then-impending nomination for Fed chair could have been behind the Fed's decision not taper in September, which took markets by surprise.
"Let's be absolutely clear—everyone already knew that it was going to be Yellen. That was already baked in the cake when they had the FOMC meeting," the strategist said. "She was the de facto next Fed chairman at that point." And Bernanke effectively said to her: "You'll decide when to taper."
But though Fisher thinks tapering is out of the question, she doesn't believe that the Fed will necessarily keep the monthly pace of asset purchases at $85 billion. In fact, rather than reducing that number, she says the Fed could add to it.
"We could see an increase in purchases if the data weakens because of all this fiscal mess," Fisher said, referring to the government shutdown and the debt ceiling.
(Read more: Why the taper may not happen until 2015)
In that way, perhaps the market could end up feeling the effect of Yellen's dovishness even before Bernanke has left the building.