PORTLAND, Oregon The U.S. Federal Reserve should cut its massive bond-buying program next month, unless economic data takes a decided turn for the worse, a top Fed official said on Monday.
"I am of the opinion that unless we see some disturbing data...that we should start in September," Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher told reporters after a speech here.
Fisher said he was not alone at the Fed in holding such a view, but that the decision would be up to the policy-setting committee.
Noting his own surprise at the strength of recent data, he suggested the Fed's growth forecasts - seen by many as overly optimistic - may be on track after all.
"The committee has to feel its way through here," he said, adding that estimates suggesting sluggish second-quarter GDP growth would likely be revised. "It's a question of how you feel things are moving."
Fisher also said that he has high regard for Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen, former Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers, former Fed Vice Chair Don Kohn, and everyone else who has been named as a potential pick to succeed Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, whose term expires in January.
"I don't think you get considered for this job unless you are a high-quality individual," he said, adding that he has no input into the process.
(Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Andrea Ricci)