Federal Reserve

Fed's Fisher asks, is rate guidance just a fad?

Richard Fisher, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
Scott Eelis | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A top U.S. Federal Reserve official critical of the U.S. central bank's super-easy monetary policy on Friday questioned the very core of the Fed's current approach, which rests on giving markets a better sense of the future path of interest rates.

That approach, known as forward guidance, received a makeover on Wednesday, when Janet Yellen wrapped her first policy-setting meeting as Fed chair with a decision to jettison narrow economic guideposts in favor of a much broader set of measures to determine the timing and pace of future rate hikes.

(Read more: Fed's Kocherlakota blasts new rate guidance)

Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher, in brief remarks released ahead of a planned speech in London, appeared to question even the basis of that approach, which Yellen has credited with keeping borrowing costs lower than otherwise and boosting an economy in great need of stimulus.

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"Is 'Forward Guidance' a crotchet .... to which exaggerated importance is attributed?," Fisher said in the brief prepared remarks. "Have we at the (Fed) just taken up another fad? Or is this a real, lasting practice?"

Fisher did not answer that question in the prepared remarks.

(Read more: Op-Ed: The Fed's new move: 'qualitative teasing')

Fisher is a member of the Fed's policy panel this year and is one of the U.S. central bank's most hawkish policymakers. He wants the Fed to wind down its bond-buying stimulus as quickly as possible.

Separately, St. Louis Fed Bank President James Bullard said that Yellen's "six-months" remark was was in line with private sector surveys. Following Wednesday's Fed decision, Yellen suggested interest rate hikes would happen about six months after quantitative easing ends, which sparked a selloff in the stock and bond markets.

"On the 'considerable period' being six months, the surveys that I had seen from the private sector had that kind of number penciled in,'' St Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said during a lunch with journalists. "That wasn't very different from what we had heard from financial markets. So, I just think she's just repeating that.''

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And San Francisco Fed President John Williams said the central bank should use policy tools other than interest rates to deal with potential risks to financial stability or asset bubbles.

--By Reuters. CNBC.com contributed to this report.

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