Richard Fisher

By James Politi in Washington

Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, is about as outspoken as it gets when it comes to officials at the US central bank. And in Portland, Oregon on Monday — as he spoke to a conference of state retirement administrators — he waded into the heated battle to succeed Ben Bernanke as the next Fed chairman.

His main message seemed to be that the Fed did not need a “prima donna” at its helm – which naturally led to speculation about whether he was referring to Larry Summers, the former treasury secretary, or Janet Yellen, the current vice-chair, who are the two leading candidates for the post. 

Claire Jones

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Rate votes

Both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England set monetary policy on Thursday.

Neither the governing council nor the monetary policy committee are expected to budge. But we do have Mario Draghi’s monthly press conference to look forward to.

Expect a few awkward questions on Jens Weidmann’s leaked letter as well as reaction to this week’s offer of three-year loans.

The presser takes place at 14.30 local time (13.30 in the UK) on Thursday.  The Bank’s decision is released at noon local time, with the results of the governing council vote out at 12.45 in London (13.45 in Frankfurt). 

Claire Jones

Our week ahead email helps you track the most important events in central banking. To see all of our emails and alerts visit www.ft.com/nbe

Bernanke testimony

Fed chairman Ben Bernanke is due to speak on the economic outlook and federal budget situation on Thursday. He’s up in front of the House Committee on the Budget at 10.00 local time (15.00 GMT) on Thursday. 

Claire Jones

Our new week ahead email will help you to track the most important events in the central banking world. To see all of our email and alerts visit www.ft.com/nbe

Both of next week’s key events are on Monday. 

Claire Jones

Two of the three FOMC dissenters on Wednesday said why they broke ranks at last week’s meeting.

Aside from their view that the conditional commitment to keep rates on hold until 2013 looked suspiciously like the Fed was trying to buoy financial markets, there was another common strand to their discord.

Both Mr Fisher and Mr Plosser claimed monetary policy was limited in what it could do to spur growth. This is becoming a popular argument among senior central bankers. 

Robin Harding

As I wrote in today’s paper it is the outlook for inflation, not growth, that is going to be most difficult for the Fed to judge as it ponders policy post-QE2. In that regard it’s fascinating to watch the dormant debate on core versus headline flare up again.

Jeffrey Lacker – Richmond

Mr Lacker cited both current and forecast headline inflation in his speech with no mention of core.

This generally positive assessment is complemented by the benign outlook for inflation. Over the 12 months ending in December, the price index for personal consumption expenditure has risen 1.2 percent. This low inflation rate seems more consistent with our price stability mandate than the figures over 2 percent that were common in the years leading up to this recession. Many forecasters are expecting inflation this year to come in between 1-½ and 2 percent. That is my expectation as well, and would represent a good outcome.