Two top Federal Reserve officials who have pressed for interest rate hikes said a spate of violent swings in financial markets won’t knock the United States’ economy off its feet.
“The U.S. outlook still looks very good,” St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told Bloomberg in an interview from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where central bankers from around the world are converging for a yearly meeting.
Global stock market volatility has sowed doubts over when the Fed will raise interest rates, particularly since the chief of the New York Fed, who is a close advisor to Fed Chair Janet Yellen, on Wednesday said the case for a September hike now appeared less compelling.
But Loretta Mester, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, said the volatility has not changed her view that the U.S. economy was ready for a modest increase in interest rates.
“I want to take the time I have between now and the September meeting to evaluate all the economic information that’s come in, including recent volatility in markets and the reasons behind that,” Mester said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “But it hasn’t so far changed my basic outlook that the U.S. economy is solid and it could support an increase in interest rates.”
Bullard, who last month said economic data had boosted the case for a September rate hike, noted that the Fed doesn’t like to change policy when markets are volatile, a Bloomberg reporter said, citing Bullard’s comments made off-camera following an interview.
“The key question for the committee is how much would you want to change the outlook based on the volatility we’ve seen over the last 10 days,” Bullard said. “And I think the answer to that is going to be not very much.”