US Markets

Fed can't fix stagnant middle-income wages: Koesterich

Fed's focus on risk

Investors could be waiting a long time for the Federal Reserve to normalize interest rates as middle-income wages remain stagnant, BlackRock's Russ Koesterich said Tuesday.

The firm's global chief investment strategist said the wage problem appears to be structural rather than cyclical. Those stubbornly low wages could contribute to an environment in which inflation remains well below the Fed's target.

"What is it that's going to get the Fed off of zero if it's this long-term structural problem that is probably not amenable to monetary policy?" he asked during an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"There are debates about is it real, or is it a measurement problem in the service-based economy, but what you can probably agree on is it's not going to get fixed by the Fed."

Wages remained flat and the average work week ticked down slightly in September, the Labor Department reported last week. Markets rallied after the report's release as investors anticipated the disappointing data would cause the Fed's policymaking committee to hold off hiking its benchmark fed funds rate.

Koesterich said markets were heading back to the days of 2013 when not just the Fed, but central banks around the world were easing monetary policy.

"We know there's no global growth, or not much of it, and we're going back into an environment where investors are taking some solace in very easy money," he said.

With $4.77 trillion in assets under management, BlackRock is the world's largest asset manager.