US Fed official says 'premature' to expect rate cuts soon

US Fed official says 'premature' to expect rate cuts soon

San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said it was "premature" to expect rate cuts around the corner
San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said it was "premature" to expect rate cuts around the corner. Photo: Anna Moneymaker / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/Getty Images via AFP
Source: AFP

The US Federal Reserve's fight against inflation is far from over and it is "premature" to expect rate cuts around the corner, a senior US central bank official said Friday.

The Fed recently held its key lending rate at a 22-year high and penciled in up to three rate cuts this year, as inflation has continued to ease toward its long-term target of two percent.

As financial markets grew increasingly confident that rate cuts were coming as soon as March, Fed policymakers used recent public events to caution against starting the process of loosening monetary policy too soon, citing ongoing inflationary risks.

Speaking to Fox Business on Friday, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly -- who is a voting member of the US central bank's interest rate-setting committee this year -- indicated that rate cuts were unlikely anytime soon.

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"We are fully committed to restoring price stability and doing it of course as gently as we can, but we have a lot of work left to do," she said. "We are not there yet, and it's far too early to declare victory."

"While I think it's appropriate for us to look forward and ask when would policy adjustments be necessary so we don't put a stranglehold on the economy, it's really premature to think that that's around the corner," she added.

While Fed officials have seemed reluctant to support a March cut, some of them have clearly signaled they expect rate cuts to begin this year.

On Thursday, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic told a conference in the city that recent "unexpected progress" in the fight against inflation had led him to move up his forecast for the start of rate cuts from the fourth quarter of this year to the third quarter.

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"If we continue to see a further accumulation of downside surprises in the data, it's possible for me to get comfortable enough to advocate normalization sooner than the third quarter," he said.

"But the evidence would need to be convincing," added Bostic, who is also a voting member of the Fed's rate-setting committee this year.

The interventions from Fed officials this week appear to have changed market perceptions of when the US central bank will start loosening monetary policy, with futures traders now far less confident of a March rate cut.

They now assign a less than 50 percent chance of a March cut, according to CME Group data, with a May move seen as much more likely.

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Source: AFP

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