Fed's Fisher wants to taper off QE this year if economy improves

The Federal Reserve will one day have to "taper" off its bond-buying program rather than halt it outright, and the best time to do that would probably be later this year, a top Federal Reserve official said on Thursday.

"You don't go from wild turkey to cold turkey, you have tapering in between," said Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, who said he would prefer to start unwinding the bond buying program "sooner rather than later."

"We should begin to taper this thing off as unemployment improves," Fisher said in an interview with Reuters. "If the economy continues to improve, I personally would expect that to be sometime this year."

Fisher, a long-time skeptic of the Fed's ultra easy monetary policy, also known as quantitative easing, or QE, is not a voter on the Fed's policy-setting panel this year.

(Reporting by Steven C. Johnson; Editing by James Dalgleish)