Fed’s Harker says expects ‘methodical’ rate hikes to fight ‘too high inflation’

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FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve building is seen in Washington

(Reuters) – Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Patrick Harker on Thursday repeated his view that the U.S. central bank will deliver “a series of deliberate, methodical hikes” to interest rates this year to bring down widespread and “far too high” inflation.

“While the Fed cannot do much to ameliorate the supply issues that are increasing inflation, we can begin to affect demand,” Harker said in remarks prepared for delivery at Rider University in Lawrence Township, New Jersey.

The speech reiterated Harker’s recent views on the outlook and the effect of tighter monetary policy, which he said will help reduce economic growth this year to around 3.5% and to 2% to 2.5% in the next couple years.

Inflation too “should begin to taper” this year, he said, ending 2022 at around 4% and over the next couple years falling to the Fed’s 2% target.

Fed policymakers began raising rates last month with a quarter-of-a-percentage point increase, and are expected to accelerate their pace of policy tightening when they next meet in May.

Interest rate futures traders currently expect the Fed to deliver half-point interest rate hikes at its next three meetings before returning to quarter-point hikes for the last three meetings of the year.

That would bring the Fed’s policy rate, now in the range of 0.25% to 0.5%, to a range of 2.5% to 2.75% by the end of the year.

(Reporting by Ann Saphir; editing by Diane Craft)

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