Susan Collins, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, speaks during the National Association for Business Economics Economic Policy Conference on March 30, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Ting Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Two Federal Reserve policymakers expressed support Friday for keeping interest rates high as the fight against too high inflation continues.
In separate speeches, Gov. Michelle Bowman and Boston Fed President Susan Collins said there was still a chance the Fed would have to raise interest rates further if economic data didn’t cooperate.
Bowman’s comments were more pointed as she suggested progress was not enough to bring inflation down to the Fed’s 2 percent target.
“I continue to expect that additional rate hikes will likely be necessary to bring inflation back to 2% in a timely manner,” she said in prepared remarks to a group of bankers in Vail, Colorado.
Since the majority of the Federal Open Market Committee expects inflation to remain above target until at least 2025, and they themselves expect that progress in this fight will be slow, this suggests that “further tightening “Policy will be needed to bring inflation down sustainably and in a timely manner,” Bowman said.
For her part, Collins said the latest inflation data was encouraging, although it was “too early” to declare victory, while core inflation excluding accommodation costs remained high.
“I expect that interest rates may need to stay higher and longer than previous forecasts suggested, and further tightening is certainly not off the table,” Collins said in prepared remarks to a banking group in Maine. “Policymakers will stay the course to meet the Fed’s mandate.”
The comment comes two days after the rate-setting FOMC decided not to raise interest rates following its two-day meeting. Both said they supported the decision.
Both Bowman and Collins are voting members of the FOMC this year. The federal funds rate is currently targeted at a range between 5.25% and 5.5%.
Although they have decided not to raise rates, officials said they expect another hike this year and then possibly two cuts in 2024, assuming moves of 0.25 percentage points each.
“There are some promising signs that inflation is easing and the economy is returning to balance,” Collins said. “But progress has not been linear and is not evenly distributed across sectors.”
She also noted that the impact of monetary policy actions, which included 11 interest rate hikes and a more than $800 billion decline in the Fed’s bond holdings, may take longer to ripple through the economy because of consumers’ strong liquidity position and Company.
However, she said the path to a soft landing for the economy has “widened” and that Fed policy is “well positioned” to achieve a decline in inflation without plunging the economy into recession.
Source : www.cnbc.com