(Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard said the US central bank will need to keep interest rates high for some time to bring inflation down, even as she acknowledged the need to watch global financial-stability risks from rising borrowing costs.
“It will take time for the full effect of tighter financial conditions to work through different sectors and to bring inflation down,” Brainard said Friday in the text of a speech in New York. “Monetary policy will need to be restrictive for some time to have confidence that inflation is moving back to target. For these reasons, we are committed to avoiding pulling back prematurely.”
Brainard’s comments, delivered at a conference at the New York Fed on “Financial Stability Considerations for Monetary Policy,” underscored the resolve among US central bankers to keep raising rates despite rising turmoil in global financial markets. Fed tightening has sent the dollar soaring in recent months, contributing to volatility around the world, while US stocks have extended declines amid rising recession worries.
The vice chair pointed to the Fed’s latest quarterly projections for interest rates published on Sept. 21, which she said indicate “additional increases through the end of this year and into next year.”
The forecasts showed policy makers expected it would be appropriate to raise the benchmark rate by another 1.25 percentage points over the final two policy meetings of the year -- following three percentage points of increases so far in 2022 -- implying a fourth straight increase of three-quarters of a percent at the Nov. 1-2 meeting was likely.
“We also recognize that risks may become more two sided at some point. Uncertainty is currently high, and there are a range of estimates around the appropriate destination of the target range for the cycle,” Brainard said.
“Proceeding deliberately and in a data-dependent manner will enable us to learn how economic activity and inflation are adjusting to the cumulative tightening and to update our assessments of the level of the policy rate that will need to be maintained for some time to bring inflation back to 2%.”
Fed officials have been expecting inflation to start coming down amid improvements in global supply chains after rising to four-decade highs earlier in the year, but progress has been slow. Fresh data published Friday morning by the Commerce Department showed the central bank’s preferred gauge rose 6.2% in the 12 months through August, down from 6.4% in July, but defying forecasters’ expectations for a greater moderation to 6%.
“Inflation is very high in the United States and abroad, and the risk of additional inflationary shocks cannot be ruled out,” Brainard said. “The process of resolving imbalances will be easier the more supply improves in markets for commodities, labor, and key intermediate inputs, as is generally expected, but there is a risk that supply disruptions could be prolonged or aggravated by Russia’s war against Ukraine, Covid-19 lockdowns in China, or weather disruptions.”
Brainard has in the past been considered one of the central bank’s more dovish officials, and has often highlighted the importance of global developments in setting US monetary policy. In her speech Friday, she said “it is important to consider how cross-border spillovers and spillbacks might interact with financial vulnerabilities” as interest rates rise.
But she also made clear that this time is different.
“In circumstances in which macroprudential policy cannot on its own eliminate the amplification of shocks through financial vulnerabilities, in a low-inflation environment, monetary policy has been relatively more accommodative than would be prescribed by a conventional monetary policy rule in order to reduce the likelihood of adverse output and employment outcomes,” she said.
“But in a high-inflation environment, monetary policy is restrictive to restore price stability and maintain anchored inflation expectations.”
Her message was echoed by other policy makers speaking Friday. San Francisco Fed chief Mary Daly said in an interview with Newsy that reducing inflation was the number one priority and officials are “resolute, we’re united, we’re focused on bringing those numbers down.
Richmond’s Thomas Barkin separately told a meeting of the Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Tysons Corner that “the public knows we are taking this seriously.”
(Updates with comments in Fed’s Daly and Barkin in final two paragraphs)
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