Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell, formerly a Wall Street lawyer and investment banker, said Monday he's watching carefully for excesses in the financial markets due to the central bank's near-zero interest rate policy.
"I would say things are fully priced out there. I don't see bubble territory, and we don't see leverage building up," Powell said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
Many economists expect the Fed to hike interest rates in the second half of 2015—an estimate he said he's comfortable with, but he refused to put a timetable on it.
While arguing the central bank is not behind the curve, Powell said the future of rates depends on the progress of the U.S. economy returning to full employment and inflation reaching 2 percent. "The time to raise rates is coming," said Powell, a voting member on the Fed's policymaking Federal Open Market Committee. "It's not here yet."
"We've had very good job creation this year. In fact, this year is on track to be the best job creation year since 1999 if the current pace keeps up for the rest of the year," he continued. "Inflation is a little bit below target. But I'd expect that to go up to our 2 percent target as slack comes out of the economy."
After the Fed's meeting last month, policymakers announced the end of its latest quantitative easing effort. The "considerable period of time" language remained in the statement. The phrase refers to how long it might be before rates go up after the end of the bond-buying program. The minutes of the October meeting are out on Wednesday. The final Fed meeting of the year is scheduled for Dec. 16 and Dec. 17, followed by a summary of economic projections and a news conference with central bank Chair Janet Yellen.
Reacting to news that Japan had slipped into recession, Powell said the concern for the U.S. economy is weakening global growth on several fronts. "Europe is very weak. China has weakened. Japan is weak. There's weakness in Latin America."
"We haven't felt that in the United States yet," he said, but added that he's watching the situation closely. "The risk really is that we will feel it through the trade channel or other channels."