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A Federal Reserve rate hike next month would provide a boost for the rest of the world and allow for a further hike this year, the co-founder of a Swiss investment advisory firm told CNBC on Thursday.
Porta Advisors Partner Beat Wittmann said emerging markets had stabilized sufficiently to cope with a Fed rate hike next month and some European economies would gain from a further rise.
"After what happened in the last two years in terms of devaluations and some real troubles in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and the surrounding countries, they (emerging markets) have stabilized on lower levels and there is a better growth prospect into next year and they will digest (a Fed hike)," Zurich-based Wittmann, a veteran of UBS and Julius Bar, told CNBC.
"And particularly the Europeans would be very happy and … the Swiss are almost desperately hoping the Fed would do such a thing because it would take of the pressure to move negative rates even lower," he added.
Only 21 percent of market participants see the Fed raising its target rate to 50-75 basis points when it meets on September 20-21, according to the CME's FedWatch Tool. It last raised rates from near-zero levels in December in its first hike in nearly a decade.
On Sunday, Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said the U.S. job market was close to full strength and still improving — comments viewed by some investors as underlining the case for a rate hike.
On Thursday, Wittmann said that if the Fed was concerned about the U.S. presidential election in November, it would opt to raise rates beforehand — that is to say, next month.
"Growth issues and international issues in that context are more important (than the presidential race), but that consideration would speak for a hike in September rather than later," he told CNBC.
Wittmann said there was still time for the Fed to strike twice this year.
"I think the Fed should hike rates because in the larger context, you want to have normalization of monetary policy. You cannot stimulate growth just by monetary policies alone, so you need fiscal policies, structural policies. And the U.S. is in the relatively best position in the world to take the lead and always takes the lead, so I expect that this year once or twice (it will hike rates) and that would surprise markets," he told CNBC.
A hint as to the timing of a rate hike or hikes may come on Friday, when Fed Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to speak at the central bank's annual summit in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
A rate hike next month would see the Fed's policy increasingly divergent from that of other major central banks, after the Bank of England cut rates and restarted quantitative easing in August following the U.K.'s vote to leave the European Union.
However, Wittmann told CNBC: "U.S. domestic economic conditions clearly warrant a hike and the international landscape is now calmer than before."
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