NEW YORK (Reuters) - A top Federal Reserve official said on Wednesday he does not see a rationale for more asset purchases if U.S. economic data continue to show the recovery is picking up steam.
"There's always a risk of unexpected developments that make further stimulus warranted but I don't see those prospects as very likely right now at all," Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said on CNN television, after being asked about a third round of quantitative easing, or QE3.
"If we keep data like we've been getting, I don't see a rationale for further easing at this point at all."
Lacker voted against the central bank's decision on January 25 to state it expected to keep interest rates "exceptionally low" until at least late 2014, because he believes rates will need to rise before then. He had previously voiced skepticism about the Fed's unconventional policy measures in response to the 2008 financial crisis, including the last round of bond buys, known as QE2.
Better-than-expected data on U.S. employment, manufacturing and consumer spending in part prompted Lacker's dissenting vote, he said. The economy "is picking up steam right now," he said.
(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer and Leah Schnurr in New York; Editing by James Dalgleish)