Mary Daly, the president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, expressed her views this week, stating that she believes two additional rate hikes this year would be appropriate. However, she maintains a neutral stance regarding the forthcoming July Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, emphasizing her desire to preserve flexibility by “maintaining optionality.”
Fed’s Daly Doesn’t Want to ‘Trip the Economy up Into an Unforced Error’
During the June FOMC gathering, the U.S. Federal Reserve members decided to refrain from raising the federal funds rate for that specific meeting. Jerome Powell, the current chairman of the Federal Reserve, informed the media that the upcoming July FOMC meeting would be a “live” one, as it would determine whether or not the central bank would increase the interest rate during that period.
Powell then testified before the House Financial Services Committee last Wednesday and indicated that the benchmark bank rate is likely to rise again this year. In an interview with Reuters, Mary Daly, the president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, expressed her belief that two more rate hikes would be a “very reasonable” projection. However, Daly also emphasized the need for caution and a gradual approach, given that the rate is currently at its highest level in 16 years.
“It is, in my judgment, prudent policy … to slow the pace of policy as you near the destination,” Daly stated.
During an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” last year, Daly discussed the Fed’s response to inflation and stressed the importance of caution and a “measured” approach. “History tells us with Fed policy that abrupt and aggressive action can actually have a destabilizing effect on the very growth and price stability we’re trying to achieve,” Daly said at the time.
Now, Daly asserts that the situation is “about balanced,” and a measured approach is still necessary to navigate through the current economy. “I want to make sure that we balance those risks on both sides, of under- or over-tightening,” Daly said. “Adding another six weeks to our decision space, to me that seems optimal and prudent.”
Daly stated that “taking a slower pace as we approach our destination means we save many Americans from either stopping short and wishing we had done more, or going too far and wishing we had done less.” In other words, Daly insists that if the central bank proceeds at a more gradual pace, it will be less likely to make mistakes that it may regret later. Daly told Reuters that she is committed to restoring price stability, but doing so requires caution.
“What I want to do, while we resolutely work to restore price stability – give these people back some peace of mind, and lives and livelihoods – is make sure we are doing it as carefully as we can so we don’t end up inadvertently, in our rush to do it today, trip the economy up into an unforced error,” added the president of the San Francisco Fed branch.
Last month’s consumer price index indicated that inflation is cooling, but at 4%, it still exceeds the Fed’s annual target of 2%. Americans are also grappling with the highest credit card debt since 1999, when the Fed began recording the figures, and a Newsweek poll shows that Americans are actively relying on credit cards to mitigate inflationary pressures. While a more restrictive monetary policy may be necessary, Daly is currently uncertain if it will achieve the desired balance.
“More tightening may be required to get the economy sustainably back into balance. But do I know that? No….we are going to have to find the terminal rate by looking at the data,” concluded Daly.
What are your thoughts on Mary Daly’s perspective of two rate hikes in 2023 and her emphasis on caution in monetary policy? Share your thoughts and opinions about this subject in the comments section below.