Fed’s Bullard Says Unemployment Rate Could Fall Below 6 Percent

The U.S. unemployment rate will fall below 6 percent by the end of this year, a Federal Reserve official said on Wednesday, offering a bullish view on the country’s economy after central bank comments sent shock waves through financial markets last week.

James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said that the outlook for the U.S. economy is “quite good,” despite data from early in the year.

“The biggest thing is that unemployment has come down more quickly than expected,” said Bullard, speaking on a panel at the annual Credit Suisse investor conference in Hong Kong.

He added later during a question and answer session that more progress is needed in the labor market before U.S. policymakers can consider raising interest rates.

Bullard is known to be one of the Fed’s more hawkish policymakers. He previously advocated for a rate hike as early as 2014, a stance he appears to have backed away from.

U.S. monetary policy tightening took center stage last week after a two-day policy meeting, when the Fed said it expected to keep benchmark interest rates near zero for a “considerable time” after it wrapped up a bond-buying stimulus program, which it is widely expected to do toward the end of the year.

via Reuters

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza