With questions swirling in the market about whether the Federal Reserve might want to engineer more aggressive interest rate hikes in the wake of the strong job growth and stick inflation in the recent economic data, one central bank official said he wants to stick to smaller moves in the future.
In a talk with reporters after a speech in Northern Virginia, Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin said he likes 25-basis point moves because it gives the central bank flexibility, according to several reports on the conversation.
Over the last three meetings, the Fed steadily slowed slowed the pace of rate hikes — from 75-basis points in November to 50 basis points in December to a quarter-point earlier this month.
On Thursday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, said they had urged their colleagues at the last meeting for the Fed to maintain that 50-basis-point pace.
While Bullard and Mester were careful to avoid saying anything about the next Fed interest-rate committee meeting on March 21-22, that didn’t stop some economists and market analysts from speculating the Fed might reaccelerate the pace of rate hikes at the meeting.
Read: Will the Fed return to 50-basis-point rate hikes?
Some economists say the data will tell the tale. The Fed will weigh the February employment and inflation reports prior to their next meeting in March.
Meanwhile, former Fed Governor Richard Clarida said he would advise the Fed to engineer two 25-basis-point hikes.
“I would certainly counsel…going 25 at the next meeting and signaling that in May,” Clarida said.
were lower on the prospects of higher interest rates. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
inched down to 3.84% after hitting the highest level of the year on Thursday.