(Bloomberg) — Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer James Gorman said he expects the U.S. Federal Reserve to begin tapering its bond buying toward the end of this year and start raising interest rates in early 2022, faster than the Wall Street bank’s own economists forecast.
“My personal view is rates are likely to rise in the early part of next year, and not in 2023 which is currently the projection,” Gorman said at an online conference in Tokyo Tuesday. “The Federal Reserve will be driven by whatever their numbers tell them. I am just giving you my opinion.”
Morgan Stanley’s U.S. economists, led by Ellen Zentner, currently expect the Fed to start slowing its asset purchases from April 2022 and to keep rates on hold until the third quarter of 2023.
Gorman said for now the Fed remains cautious and doesn’t think there will be long-term inflation pressure. Yet signs of inflation are rising, he said.
“After many years of no inflation we clearly see price increases,” the Wall Street CEO said. “It’s beginning to get people’s attention.”
The question for now is whether price pressures are short-term, or signal more fundamental changes in the economy as it rebounds from the pandemic.
“Increasingly people are starting to think it may be more structural, long term. If that is the case, the Federal Reserve will have to raise interest rates at some point,” he said.
Gorman added that he is very confident about the U.S. recovery, as consumer and corporate balance sheets are strong. He urged Japan to embrace immigration to boost economic growth, in response to questions at the Nikkei Financial conference in Tokyo.
Morgan Stanley’s CEO and economists have divided before only for Gorman to be proved right. In early 2015, he said he would “put good money” on the Fed lifting rates that year. At the time, Zentner’s team was forecasting a 2016 hike.
The Fed ended up tightening monetary policy in December 2015.
(Adds Morgan Stanley economists throughout)
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