Fed’s Evans: Rates Could Move Soon, if Moved Slowly

With U.S. inflation uncomfortably low and the unemployment rate still too high, the Federal Reserve should hold off on raising short-term interest rates until early next year, a top Fed policymaker said on Monday.  Still, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said, rate hikes could begin this year without harming the recovery.

“My preference would be that we not raise rates until we’re confident that we are going to see rates rise, and those rate increases be clearly in train,” he told reporters after a speech here. “However having said that, it is the overall stance of monetary policy over a longer period of time that will ultimately be determinative, so a properly shallow path of increases, even if we were to increase rates sooner than I would like, could still be quite supportive of continued strong economic recovery, hopefully continued increases in inflation.”

The Fed can achieve its goals without any additional stimulus like a new bond-buying program, “as long as people sort of understand that we could go above 2 percent, that would be perfectly fine, as long as it is in a controlled sense, not anything outsized or too long-lasting, but neither would it have to be only three months, that type of thing.”