Despite recent encouraging signs on inflation, Boston Federal Reserve President Susan Collins said Friday that more interest rate hikes could yet be needed.
“I understand the tendency to really enjoy good news, and there was some good news in some of the numbers — and I think that we need to appreciate that. But I don’t see additional firming off the table,” the central bank official told CNBC’s Steve Liesman during a “Squawk on the Street” interview. “I think the key point is we need to really stay the course.”
Other Fed officials have been saying much of the same, essentially that inflation is showing progress towards the Fed’s 2% 12-month target but still has a way to go. Policymakers are leery over repeating the mistakes of the past, where the Fed quit too early in efforts to bring down inflation and ended up paying for it.
Inflation reports this week showed a slowing pace in both consumer and producer prices. However, Collins said recent data has been “noisy.”
“We need to look holistically at the data,” she said. “So [there has been] promising news, which is great. But I remain focused on really looking at the kind of full complement of information that we’re getting and making assessments in real time about the right thing to do.”
Markets think there’s virtually no chance the Fed will hike any more during this cycle. The central bank’s benchmark borrowing rate is targeted in a range between 5.25%-5.5%, the highest in 22 years. Market pricing projects the Fed will start cutting in May and lop a full percentage off the fed funds rate by the end of 2024, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch gauge.
Collins noted the progress made in stabilizing the labor market and tightening financial conditions, but said it’s “important for us to be patient and recognize that [we’re] far from declaring victory.”
Collins will not be a voting member on the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee until 2025.
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