US Fed official urges front-loading rate hikes

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 15, 2022
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A senior U.S. Federal Reserve official on Monday urged the central bank to "front-load" rate hikes to contain surging inflation.

"I do think we need to front-load more of our planned removal of accommodation than we would have previously. We've been surprised to the upside on inflation," St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said in an interview with CNBC.

"Our credibility is on the line here and we do have to react to the data," said Bullard, who votes on the Fed's monetary policy this year.

Bullard's comments came after the U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday that the consumer price index (CPI) in January rose 7.5 percent from a year earlier, the fastest annual pace in almost 40 years.

"My interpretation was not so much that report alone, but the last four reports taken in tandem have indicated that inflation is broadening and possibly accelerating in the U.S. economy," Bullard said, adding the inflation is "very bad" for low- and moderate-income households.

Bullard also reiterated that the Fed should raise its benchmark short-term interest rate a full percentage point by July 1 and start shrinking its balance sheet in the second quarter.

"I think my position is a good one, and I'll try to convince my colleagues that it's a good one," he said.

The Fed signaled last month that the central bank is ready to begin a series of interest-rate hikes in March to combat surging inflation as it exits from the ultra-loose monetary policy enacted at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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