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UPDATE 1-Fed's Mester supports taper start in November, sees rate hike in 2022

UPDATE 1-Fed's Mester supports taper start in November, sees rate hike in 2022

reuters.com · 09/24/2021 10:15
UPDATE 1-Fed's Mester supports taper start in November, sees rate hike in 2022

Adds comments by Mester

- The Federal Reserve should start reducing its support for the economy in November and could start raising interest rates by the end of next year should labor markets continue to improve as expected, Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester said on Friday.

The Fed promised to keep buying $120 billion in assets each month until the economy has made "substantial further progress" toward the Fed's goals of maximum employment and 2% inflation.

"In my view, the economy has met those conditions, and I support starting to dial back our purchases in November and concluding them over the first half of next year," Mester said during an event organized by the Ohio Bankers League.

The economy has also "largely" met the Fed's bar for raising interest rates as well, but "the economy is still some distance from maximum employment," said Mester, who will become a voter next year on the Fed's policy-setting committee. Still, she added, she expects the conditions for raising interest rates to be met by the end of 2022.

Answering questions after her remarks, Mester said monetary policy will remain accommodative even after the Fed reduces the pace of its asset purchases because it will still be adding to the balance sheet.

Mester said the virus continues to affect the economy and add uncertainty to the forecast, but each "wave" has a smaller impact on economic activity.

The policymaker is also keeping an eye on the "frothiness" in real estate and equity markets, which she said are not in bubble territory.

"There are different things happening that will affect the forecast, but I think it's a base case that we're going to have growth and that the recovery is going to continue," she said.


(Reporting by Ann Saphir in Berkeley, Calif., and Jonnelle Marte in New York
Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis)

((ann.saphir@thomsonreuters.com; +1 312 593 8342))