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Here’s Why the Fed’s Expected December Rate Hike May Be the Last for a While

November 16, 2016

Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis President James Bullard InterviewFederal Reserve Bank of St Louis President James Bullard Interview
James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank.Photograph by Scott Eells — Bloomberg/Getty Images

One U.S interest rate increase, possibly next month, may be enough to bring Federal Reserve’s rates to a “neutral setting”, one of the central bank’s policymakers, James Bullard, said on Wednesday.

Financial markets expect the Fed to raise rates next month and have begun pricing in a much more aggressive run of rate increases after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s promised to boost the U.S. economy with spending on infrastructure.

“A single policy-rate increase, possibly in December, may be sufficient to move monetary policy to a neutral setting,” Bullard said at a UBS conference in London.


The jump in the U.S. dollar and government bond yields since last week’s election remained within the range of the last year, he said, and rising in inflation expectations had eased some of the Fed’s concerns about overly low inflation.

“Equities and foreign exchange rates have been re-priced, but are well within the experience of the past year.”

“There were a lot of predictions that if the election went the way of Republicans and President-elect Donald Trump, then there would be great deal of volatility, but that has not materialized so far,” said Bullard, who is currently a voting member of the U.S. central bank’s rate-setting committee.

Bullard is considered one of the Fed policymakers more likely to back rate hikes. But he stressed that while rates would go up if the U.S. economy improves, the era of low global borrowing costs was not expected to come to an abrupt end.

“We have a low interest rate regime and it is really not expected to turn around and mean revert,” he said.