Federal Reserve officials are discussing their next steps on interest rates, focusing on maintaining steady rates if no alarming new data emerges. Inflation expectations and the importance of data analysis are key factors.
Troy D. Hanson
August 10, 2023
Federal Reserve officials have been holding discussions on their next step regarding interest rates, even though they won't convene until September. In a recent speech, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker expressed that the central bank might be reaching a point where it can maintain steady rates.
Harker, a voting member of the policy committee this year, suggested that if no alarming new data emerges before the September meeting, the Fed could exercise patience and allow its previous actions to take effect. He emphasized the need to keep rates stable for an extended period if they reach this point, noting that there is currently no clear scenario that would warrant an immediate easing.
Regarding inflation, Harker anticipates that core PCE inflation will gradually decrease to just under 4% annually by the end of 2023. It is expected to then drop below 3% the following year and stabilize at the Fed's 2% target rate in 2025. Consumer price index data for July will be released on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin stated that it is premature to determine whether a rate increase in September is appropriate. He emphasized the importance of not making any premature judgments, as there are still two job reports and two inflation reports to consider before the meeting.
New York Fed President John Williams mentioned to the New York Times that they are nearing what could be considered a peak rate. While economic indicators signal strength, he believes that a restrictive stance will likely be necessary for a significant period. Ultimately, their decision will depend on the data at hand.