By Greg Robb
The U.S. central bank will continue to raise interest rates at a measured pace until policymakers are confident that inflation is moving down toward the 2% annual rate goal, said Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker on Wednesday.
“High inflation is a scourge, punishing low- and moderate-income families the most,” Harker said, in a speech to the Mid-Size Bank Coalition of America.
Harker endorsed the Fed’s plan for two additional 50-basis-point rate hikes in June and July as long as there are no significant changes in the data in the coming weeks.
“After that, I anticipate a sequence of increases in the funds rate at a measured pace until we are confident that inflation is moving toward the FOMC’s inflation target,” Harker said.
All of this will be dependent on where the data is, Harker said.
Reality has a way of interceding into plans, he added.
The Philadelphia Fed president said he believed that a recession was not inevitable.
“I still am in the camp that we can have, if not a soft landing, a safe landing,” Harker said. “What I mean by that is, that I think it is going to be bumpy.”
The economy looks very resilient and “can withstand a measured, methodical approach to tightening financial conditions,” he added.
On Wednesday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank was going to keep “pushing” rates higher until it saw inflation coming down in a clear and convincing fashion.
U.S. stocks (DOW:DJIA) (S&P:SPX) suffered steep losses Wednesday on concerns about inflation’s impact on the economy and consumer spending.
The yield on the benchmark Treasury 10-year note (XTUP:BX:TMUBMUSD10Y) slipped below 2.9%.