(Reuters) -Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker said he would currently support three interest rate hikes this year, starting from March, and would be open to more if inflation worsens.
U.S. consumer prices surged in December, with the annual increase in inflation the largest in nearly four decades, cementing expectations the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates as early as March.
In an interview with Financial Times, Harker said the central bank had few tools to combat the supply chain problems fuelling inflation, but it should act to slow some of the demand.
Harker’s remarks echoed the Fed’s turn towards inflation fighting, a shift cemented at a December meeting, where it signaled three rate hikes in 2022.
Earlier this week, Chair Jerome Powell reiterated the stance, saying that a tighter monetary policy was need to ensure that high inflation did not become “entrenched.”
Similar comments were also made by Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, who too suggested that the central bank will have to raise interest rates at least three times this year, beginning as soon as March.
Both Bostic and Harker are non-voting members of the Fed’s rate-setting committee this year.
(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Kim Coghill)