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Paul Tudor Jones says rates would be much higher if he were running the Fed

Jeff Cox
  • Hedge fund magnate Paul Tudor Jones says the Fed is well behind the curve when it comes to setting interest rates.
  • The billionaire, who rarely does press interviews, tells CNBC the central bank's benchmark rate should be 150 basis points higher, or about double the current range.
  • Tudor Jones also blasts fiscal policy, which he says is "from another galaxy."

Paul Tudor Jones upped his criticism of the Federal Reserve on Tuesday, saying that the central bank is way behind the curve when it comes to interest rates.

In fact, the reclusive hedge fund magnate told CNBC the Fed's benchmark interest rate should be about double where it is now.

Asked what monetary policy would look like if he were in charge, he said, "I think rates would be 150 basis points higher right now. It's where they should be."

"We've got 3.8 percent unemployment and negative real rates," he told CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin during an interview on " Squawk Box ."

Tudor Jones is a legendary trader and macroeconomic hedge fund manager who is worth more than $4 billion, according to Forbes. He rarely gives interviews with the press.

He spoke the same day the central bank's policymaking Federal Open Market Committee begins its two-day meeting in Washington. Market participants widely expect the FOMC to raise its benchmark target rate a quarter point to 1.75 percent to 2 percent.

However, the big question in markets will be how much more Fed officials judge rates have to go to reach an equilibrium that is neither stimulative nor restrictive. Tudor Jones said he expects rates to keep rising.

"I think we'll see rates move significantly higher beginning sometime in the late third quarter, early fourth quarter, and I think it will be interesting because I think the stock market also has the ability to go a lot higher by the end of the year," he said.

In addition to his views on rates, Tudor Jones has said he thinks the Fed has been responsible for creating a bubble, telling clients in February that the Fed has an "obsession" with inflation targeting that is allowing risk assets to soar. The Fed believes inflation should run around 2 percent as a sign of a healthy economy, but Tudor Jones thinks that's too high and has caused the Fed to fall behind where it should be.

Fiscal policy, particularly the December tax cuts and spending that is expected to push the budget deficit past $1 trillion soon, isn't helping, he said.

"We've got fiscal policy that literally came from another galaxy and we have monetary laxity, and that brew is what has got the stock market so jacked up," he said.



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