- Top economist Mohamed El-Erian said the Fed has to remain committed to hiking rates until inflation is tamed.
- "I'm very puzzled by this notion that they should pause in September," El-Erian told CNBC Wednesday.
- He shared his base case for the Fed, and why the central bank cannot lose conviction in hiking rates.
Top economist Mohamed El-Erian believes the Federal Reserve should keep hiking interest rates at half-point increments until inflation is fully under control rather than starting and stopping.
"I'm very puzzled by this notion that they should pause in September," El-Erian told CNBC Wednesday. In his view, the central bank should signal that it is ready to do whatever it takes to contain inflationary expectations.
If the Fed doesn't signal it is willing to make multiple aggressive rate hikes, "we're going to be talking about this problem next year," he added. "And the consequences are not just for the markets but for the real economy and the most vulnerable segment of our society are going to be even more consequential."
The top economist and president of Queens' College, Cambridge, said his base case is at least two 50-point rate hikes, potentially followed by a third, 25-point rate hike if necessary.
But if the Fed loses conviction in hiking rates, or eases its commitment to aggressive policy, turmoil could ensue. Inflation will still loom large and the threat of stagflation won't be solved, he added, unless the central bank follows through.
"We've got to get this under control quickly otherwise it's going to undermine a lot of things next year, economically, socially, and institutional, let alone the political consequences that you talked about," El-Erian said.
Meanwhile, the CEO of Wells Fargo echoed El-Erian's sentiments. He expects the Fed to face steep challenges in its attempt to guide the economy to a soft landing.
"The scenario of a soft landing is…extremely difficult to achieve in the environment that we're in today," CEO Charlie Scharf said at a conference, according to Reuters.