The president of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve, Patrick Harker, recently stated in an interview that the central bank does not have immediate plans to cut interest rates. Harker believes that the job of reducing inflation is “not done” and, therefore, there is no need to raise interest rates again.
While Harker acknowledges the importance of keeping interest rates high for a while, he also emphasizes the need for inflation to continue slowing down towards the Fed’s target rate of 2%. Currently, prices are still rising at an annual rate of 3.1%.
Although Harker acknowledges that the time will come to lower rates, he does not anticipate any changes in the near future. As a voting member of the committee responsible for setting rates, his opinion carries weight within the central bank.
The Federal Reserve had previously raised a key short-term rate to 5.5%, up from near zero in the spring of 2022, in an effort to curb high inflation. Since then, inflation has gradually slowed down from its peak of 9.1%, which was the highest in 40 years.
The central bank’s primary objective is to achieve a 2% annual inflation rate. To ensure that prices continue to decelerate, it is expected that the benchmark rate will remain unchanged for at least the duration of spring.
It is worth noting that recent developments on Wall Street have caught the attention of Fed officials. Despite leaving key short-term interest rates unchanged last week, a significant rally was observed in both the stock market and a sharp decline in long-term rates.
In response, senior Fed officials like Harker have been attempting to communicate to the markets that interest rates will not be cut as soon as expected. Currently, Wall Street investors are predicting a rate cut as early as March.
Harker’s perspective aligns with this intention to maintain current rates. He suggests that holding rates at their current level is the appropriate approach moving forward.