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St. Louis Fed’s Bullard says the central bank should raise rates above 3% this year.

On Friday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said he thinks the central bank should raise interest rates the equivalent of 12 times this year to convince the public it is serious about fighting inflation. As the lone dissenter at this week’s Federal Reserve meeting, Bullard said that he would like to see the central bank’s benchmark interest rate boosted above 3% from the near-0% level where it had stood. “This would quickly adjust the policy rate to a more appropriate level for the current circumstances,” he said.

Following its two-day meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee said it would raise overnight rates for banks by 0.25 percentage points, historically the standard increment with which the FOMC moves. Accompanying economic projections indicated a path this year that would see the equivalent of seven rate hikes, or 1.75 percentage points. The move was the first time the Fed has raised the rate since December 2018 and came in response to a stunning increase in inflation that has seen prices rise at their fastest pace in 40 years. Bullard was the only FOMC member to vote against the move, stating he would have preferred a rate hike of 0.5 percentage points or 50 basis points. He added that the Fed should have started reducing the nearly $9 trillion in bond holdings it has accumulated over the past 14 years.

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