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Fed taper 'predictable, unavoidable': OECD Secretary

Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 | 9:56 PM ET
OECD's Gurria: Fed's taper 'predictable, unavoidable'
Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 | 7:22 PM ET
Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the OECD, says the Fed's tapering was "predictable and unavoidable" and "ultimately a good thing" as it indicates a return of normality in the U.S. economy.

A tapering of U.S. monetary policy is both predictable and unavoidable, Angel Gurría, secretary-general at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said on Friday.

"We have been saying that tapering was predictable and unavoidable and a good thing as it means normality is creeping back into proceedings," Gurría told CNBC on the side lines of a conference in Sydney before this weekend's G-20 meeting of world finance ministers and central bankers.

(Read more: Frail EMs hot topic for G-20 meeting)

Markets in major developing countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Turkey and India have been hit by brutal selling – first in May and June last year and again at the start of the year – amid jitters about the impact of an unwinding of the U.S. Federal Reserve's asset-purchase program.

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria
Dursun Aydemir | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria

Gurría said that markets were more orderly now compared with when the Fed taper talk emerged last year.

"The only thing [about tapering] is that it's like coming off steroids," he said. "When Ben Bernanke in May announced this we had turbulence, now we have a bit more order [although] some of the turbulence is not about tapering."

The Fed scaled back its $85 billion-a-month stimulus program by $10 billion in December and by a further $10 billion in January. The central bank turned to an ultra-easy monetary policy in 2008 to help lift the boost economic growth at a time when interest rates had already been slashed to historic lows.

Takehiko Nakao, president of the Asian Development Bank, told CNBC earlier that emerging markets were in a better position than in the past to weather market turmoil.

(Read more: Asia is better prepared for economic travails)

Volatility in emerging markets has led to some calls for major central banks to be more sensitive about the impact their monetary policy decisions can have around the world.

The International Monetary Fund, for instance, said earlier this week that advanced economies must avoid scaling back stimulus too quickly given a weak global economic recovery, with recent market volatility highlighting key risks in some emerging markets.

(Read more: Australian FinanceMinister: 'We could do better')

In a report released on Friday, the OECD said momentum on reforms in the wake of the global financial crisis had slowed and more needed to be done to boost productivity and lower barriers to trade.

— Writing by CNBC's Dhara Ranasinghe. Follow her on Twitter at @DharaCNBC

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