(Reuters) – Richmond Federal Reserve President Thomas Barkin on Tuesday he likes the “optionality” implied in the central bank’s latest policy statement, but he is “comfortable” with raising interest rates further if that is what is needed to lower inflation.
“I think the message sent in the last statement was one of optionality, it wasn’t one of a pause or a peak,” Barkin told Bloomberg TV.
“I want to learn more about what’s happening with all these lagged effects (from earlier rate hikes), but I also want to reduce inflation,” he said. “And if more increases are what’s necessary to do that, I’m comfortable doing that.”
Barkin’s comments were delivered on the sidelines of an Atlanta Fed conference in Florida and largely repeated remarks he made in a Reuters interview on Monday, in which he emphasized he is not yet convinced that inflation is heading steadily lower.
In their policy statement issued alongside a 10th straight rate hike on May 3, Fed officials made no firm commitment to another hike at their meeting next month and shifted to a data-dependent footing. The next meeting is June 13-14.
(Reporting By Dan Burns)