US Fed should not act urgently when it’s not required, Daly says

By Thomson Reuters Apr 15, 2024 | 7:54 PM

PALO ALTO, California (Reuters) – San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly said on Monday there is no urgency to cut U.S. interest rates, with the economy and labor market strong, and inflation still above the Fed’s 2% target.      “The worst thing to do is act urgently when urgency is not required,” Daly said at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. Daly is one of 19 U.S. central bankers who set U.S. monetary policy.

The Fed is increasingly expected to hold its policy rate steady in the 5.25%-5.5% range until mid-September, more than a year past its last rate hike, and to then cut rates just twice before year-end. As recently as March most Fed policymakers saw at least three rate cuts by year’s end.

But inflation in the first three months of the year was higher than most forecasters had anticipated, raising doubts about the wisdom of beginning to ease policy without greater progress toward the Fed’s 2% goal.

Meanwhile consumer spending has been strong and so has the labor market, with unemployment at 3.8% last month, hardly cause for concern that the current stance of policy is too tight.

Daly said on Monday she does not want to end up with a too-strong, or a too-weak, policy response, and that she needs to be confident that inflation is headed toward 2% before she would want to easy policy.

(Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)