US central banker says Dec rate hike ‘plausible’
The prevailing view that the US Federal Reserve will raise the key interest rate next month is “plausible,” a voting member of the monetary policy committee said yesterday.
“Absent significant negative economic news over the next month, the market’s assessment of the likelihood of tightening in December seems plausible,” Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren said in a speech in Portland, Maine. The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will next meet December 13-14 and is widely expected to increase rates for the first time since December 2015.
Rosengren, though previously supportive of very low rates, dissented in September when the FOMC decided to leave rates unchanged. But at the November 1-2 FOMC, he voted with the majority to again maintain the status quo just before the presidential election.
“At the FOMC meeting earlier this month, however, I felt that the changes in the FOMC statement were well aligned with the notion (and the market perception) of a high likelihood of tightening in December. As a result, I did not dissent,” Rosengren said.
He said with unemployment at 4.9 percent in October, the labor market is close to full employment. Inflation also is approaching the Fed target and is expected to reach 2 percent next year.
“Progress to date and the expectation of further progress likely explain, in part, why markets have priced in a high probability of a rate hike in December.”
Rogengren’s is one of a barrage of about a dozen Fed speeches this week, including Fed Chair Janet Yellen tomorrow, Vice Chair Stanley Fischer later yesterday and New York Fed President William Dudley Friday. Fischer last week said the Fed expects the US economy to continue to recover and that there is a “quite strong” case to raise interest rates gradually, although they will remain relatively low. —AFP
The US Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC.