Fed’s Bowman: too soon to tell if half percentage point rate hike needed in March

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FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman gives her first public remarks as a Fed policymaker at an American Bankers Association conference in San Diego

– It is too early to know if the Federal Reserve will need to start its tightening cycle at its next policy meeting in March with a half percentage point rate rise, Fed Governor Michelle Bowman said on Monday, as she pointed to upcoming data as the deciding factor.

“Between now and then it’s very important that we continue to watch how the economy develops and to understand whether or not things are improving or getting worse as we are approaching that decision,” Bowman said when asked at an American Bankers Association conference in Palm Desert, California, if she supported a larger initial rate rise in light of stubbornly high inflation. “At this point I think it’s too soon to tell.”

(Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Andrea Ricci)