As FOMC Meet Nears, Here's What Different Fed Officials Think About Rate-Hike Pace

Despite signs of inflation having peaked and economic activity witnessing a slowdown, Federal Reserve officials have reportedly stated they will continue with more rate hikes, with many in favor of taking the top policy rate to 5%.

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“I just think we need to keep going, and we’ll discuss at the meeting how much to do,” said Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester according to a Reuters report that cited her interview with the Associated Press.


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At the same time, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told the Wall Street Journal earlier he too anticipates the policy rate rising to the 5.25-5.50% range, adding that policymakers should get it above 5% “as quickly as we can.”

Several Fed officials have voiced their opinion on bringing down the pace of rate hikes to 25 basis points compared to 50 basis points earlier. However, Bullard has expressed more impatience. Asked if he was open to a 50 bps increase at the central bank’s upcoming meeting in early February, he asked “why not go to where we’re supposed to go? … Why stall?”

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker, generally less hawkish than Mester or Bullard, and of the view the Fed should switch to quarter-percentage-point hikes ahead, anticipates “a few more” rises in borrowing costs before a pause, the Reuters report said.

Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan, too, supports a slower rate hike pace going ahead but signaled the central bank may need to raise rates higher than is widely anticipated to keep financial conditions tight enough to bring down inflation. “I believe we shouldn’t lock in on a peak interest rate,” Logan said in Austin, Texas.

Smaller Hikes: Outgoing Kansas City Fed President Esther George told Reuters in an interview she felt rates would have to move higher than many of her fellow officials expect, but said she would have been willing to move in smaller increments.

“People’s expectations about inflation are beginning to move down,” George commented, based on conversations with contacts in her Midwest district. “So I’m comfortable beginning that stepped-down process … I’d be happy to do 25s if I were there,” she said.

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