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Bullard Urges Front-Loading Rate Hikes to Boost Fed Credibility

Economy Aug 03, 2022 15:00
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2/2 © Bloomberg. James Bullard, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, gestures while speaking at the 2019 Monetary and Financial Policy Conference at Bloomberg's European headquarters in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. Bullard said U.S. policy makers are facing too-low rates of inflation and the risk of a greater-than-expected slowdown, suggesting he’d favor an additional interest rate cut as insurance. 2/2
 
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(Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said he favors a strategy of “front-loading” big interest-rate hikes, and repeated he wants to end the year at 3.75% to 4% to counter the hottest inflation in four decades.

“We still have some ways to go here to get to restrictive monetary policy,” Bullard said in a CNBC interview Tuesday. “I’ve argued now with the hotter inflation numbers in the spring, we should get to 3.75% to 4% this year. Exactly whether you want to do that at a particular meeting or some other meeting is a great question. I’ve liked front-loading. I think it enhances our inflation-fighting credentials.”

Federal Reserve presidents including Bullard speaking this week emphasized that inflation at a 40-year high has yet to slow, and pushed back against the perception the central bank was pivoting to a less aggressive phase of tightening monetary policy. Fed Chair Jerome Powell last week cited Federal Open Market Committee forecasts that the Fed would raise rates to 3.4% at the end of the year and 3.8% in 2023.

“We’re going to have to see convincing evidence across the board of headline and other measures of core inflation all coming down convincingly before we’ll be able to feel like we’re doing enough,” Bullard said. 

Later, he added that the Fed will probably have to keep rates “higher for longer” to see a broad-based slowdown in price growth. 

Markets are pricing in interest-rate cuts as soon as the first half of 2023 and some investors took comments by Powell in last week’s press conference as a sign that the Fed could soon become less aggressive. 

The Fed raised rates by 75 basis points for a second straight meeting and Powell said another increase of that size would be possible in September. He gave no specific forward guidance and said future rate increases would be depend on data and would be decided meeting by meeting.

Bullard said he agreed with Powell’s view that the US was not in a recession, citing strong jobs growth as being more convincing than the two negative quarters of gross domestic product that some see as a sign of a downturn. Bullard said he expects growth in the second half of the year.

“We’re not in a recession right now,” he said. “With all the job growth in the first half of the year, it is hard to say that there was a recession.”

 

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

Bullard Urges Front-Loading Rate Hikes to Boost Fed Credibility
 

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