US Federal Reserve vice-chair Stanley Fischer resigns year early

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In a surprise move that could augur a shakeup at the USA central bank, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer announced Wednesday that he would resign next month for "personal reasons".

"Accordingly, while Fischer's resignation may not affect the outlook for monetary policy that much, it could mark the beginning, along with the nomination of Randall Quarles to be Vice Chair of Supervision, of a shift toward a Federal Board of Governors that is more amenable to deregulation".

Mr. Fischer also ran a central bank - the Bank of Israel - from 2005 to 2013, held a senior post at the International Monetary Fund and served as a Citigroup vice chairman.

Fischer is leaving before his term expires in June next year, and that in effect gives Trump scope to remake the leadership of the Federal Reserve Board.

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In a letter of resignation, Fischer said he was stepping down for unspecified "personal reasons" and cited the central bank's work to stabilize the United States financial system following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Currently, three other seats on the seven-member Board of Governors are vacant, and Chairwoman Janet Yellen's term expires in February. Yellen and Fischer are strong advocates for financial regulation, but a turnover in the Fed's membership could play into the Trump administration's push to unravel the 2010 Dodd Frank financial reform law.

The central bank is slowly raising interest rates as the economy grows and unemployment falls. Trump has said that a renomination of Yellen is under consideration, though the White House is also looking at other candidates. He has worked as a chief economist at the World Bank and taught economics at MIT.

Nominated by President Barack Obama, Fischer worked with Chairman Janet Yellen to lift the USA out of the financial crisis and recession through a strategy involving low interest rates and money printing.

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