Fed Officials Stress Need for Further Interest Rate Hikes to Combat Inflation

The Federal Reserve has been gradually raising interest rates since March of last year in order to combat rising inflation. Last week, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a range of 4.5%-4.75%. The central bank’s projections from December indicate they favor raising rates slightly above 5% this year.[0]

New York Fed President John Williams recently spoke at a Wall Street Journal event in New York and warned that a “sufficiently restrictive stance of policy” may need to be maintained for a few years to get inflation to 2%.[1] Governor Lisa Cook discussed monetary policy separately, emphasizing the necessity of more interest rate increases to suppress inflation.

Financial conditions had tightened “a lot” over the past year, and investors anticipated the Fed’s actions.[2] Lorie Logan, President of the Dallas Federal Reserve, expressed her opinion that the Fed should not establish a specific point or trajectory for peak interest rates.[3]

Michael Schumacher of Wells Fargo Securities is certain of one thing: “The Fed is not your friend.”[4] Schumacher still likes the 2-year Treasury Note for relative safety and some upside.[4]

Governor Michelle Bowman said she sees the need to keep raising interest rates and then hold them at a higher level to tackle inflation. New York Fed President John Williams said moving to a federal funds rate of between 5.00% and 5.25% “seems a very reasonable view of what we’ll need to do this year in order to get the supply and demand imbalances down.”[5]

John Williams also said that wage growth remains “well above” levels consistent with the Fed’s 2% goal, and there is still a demand-supply imbalance in the services sector, excluding housing, food, and energy.[6] He said that he was seeing more positive signs for economic growth around the globe, as well as some signs of resilience in the US economy.[7]

In conclusion, Federal Reserve officials have said this week that more interest rate hikes are needed to reduce inflation and get inflation back to the target of 2%. They have emphasised the necessity of continuing to raise interest rates, as well as the possibility that, given sustained price pressures, borrowing costs may peak at a higher level than initially anticipated. The Federal Reserve must focus on getting the services sector consistent with the 2% inflation target and stay the course until their job is done.[6]

0. “Fed’s Cook eyes more hikes to reach 2% inflation target” American Banker, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.americanbanker.com/news/feds-cook-eyes-more-hikes-to-reach-2-inflation-target

1. “Officials at the Fed continue to make hawkish calls for more rate increases” Business Upturn, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.businessupturn.com/world/officials-at-the-fed-continue-to-make-hawkish-calls-for-more-rate-increases/

2. “Fed’s Williams says there’s still ‘work to do’, ‘a lot of uncertainty ‘ around inflation outlook” ShareCast, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.sharecast.com/news/international-economic/feds-williams-says-theres-still-work-to-do-a-lot-of-uncertainty-around-inflation-outlook–12256338.html

3. “Fed’s Williams calls to ‘stay the course’ on rate hikes after inflation data” Yahoo News, 14 Feb. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/feds-williams-calls-to-stay-the-course-on-rate-hikes-after-inflation-data-200418864.html

4. “‘Fed is not your friend’: Wells Fargo delivers warning ahead of key inflation report” msnNOW, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/fed-is-not-your-friend-wells-fargo-delivers-warning-ahead-of-key-inflation-report/ar-AA17roXy

5. “Federal Reserve Officials Say More Interest Rate Hikes Are Needed to Curb Inflation – Economics Bitcoin News” Bitcoin News, 10 Feb. 2023, https://news.bitcoin.com/federal-reserve-officials-say-more-interest-rate-hikes-are-needed-to-curb-inflation

6. “Nasdaq 100 Uptrend Intact After Fed Williams Rehashes Powell” Investing.com, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.investing.com/analysis/nasdaq-100-uptrend-intact-after-fed-williams-rehashes-powell-200635156

7. “Fed’s WIlliams: We still have some work to do to get inflation under control” ForexLive, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.forexlive.com/centralbank/feds-williams-we-still-have-some-work-to-do-to-get-inflation-under-control-20230208/