A group of leading economists on Monday urged the Federal Reserve Board to leave rates steady when it meets Sept. 29 to debate monetary policy.

"The risk of inflation remains," the Shadow Open Market Committee said in a statement. "It would be a mistake for the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates and expand money growth."

Alan H. Meltzer, chairman of the committee and a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said lower U.S. interest rates would cause the value of the dollar to fall and the value of the yen to appreciate, exacerbating economic trouble in Asia.

"The Federal Reserve is not-and it cannot be-manager of the world economy," the statement said. "U.S. monetary policy cannot offset the effects on the world economy of a decline in the relative prices of oil or commodities. Nor can it correct for the misguided policies in Japan or Brazil."

The recommendation came after President Clinton on Monday said restoring growth should be the world's top economic priority.

Some analysts had interpreted the remark as an effort by the President to pressure the Fed to cut rates. But Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, clarifying the remark, said the President was just agreeing with past comments by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and was not pushing for a rate cut.

-Jaret Seiberg and Dow Jones

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