Fed has ‘a lot of time’ before next rate decision needs to be made: Barkin

US central bank officials have “a lot of time still” before they need to decide how large an interest rate increase to approve at their September 20-21 policy meeting, Richmond Federal Reserve President Thomas Barkin said on Friday.

With an unusually long eight-week gap between meetings, the Fed still has “another bite” at data including jobs, inflation and other reports that will shape whether it opts for a half-percentage-point increase in its benchmark overnight interest rate or a third consecutive 75-basis-point hike, Barkin told reporters on the sidelines of a Maryland Association of Counties conference in Ocean City, Md.

Given the strength of inflation this year, with consumer prices increasing 8.5% on an annual basis in July, Barkin said the “urge” among central bankers was towards faster, front-loaded rate increases.

Inflation, when calculated using a separate measure preferred by the Fed is about three times the central bank’s 2% target, and policymakers have made taming the price increases their top priority.

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