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Fed's Mester wants to stay on gradual rate hike path despite low inflation readings
The Federal Reserve should remain on a path of gradually raising rates even though it may take "somewhat longer" for inflation to reach the central bank's 2% target, said Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, on Thursday. Mester said the recent low inflation readings were not a signal of a general downward trend in consumer prices, but instead "reflect supply-side factors and relative price changes." Fed watchers see the next chance for a interest-rate hike will in December. This month, instead of a rate hike, the Fed is expected to start the slow runoff of its $4.5 trillion balance sheet. Mester signaled her support for shrinking the balance sheet, saying "I favor doing this in the near future." The Cleveland President is one of the more hawkish of the dozen regional bank presidents. She is not a voting member the Fed's interest-rate committee this year.
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