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Two senior Federal Reserve officials have warned that failure to get soaring inflation under control will hurt the US economy, with one saying the situation is already testing the bank’s credibility central.
Fed Governor Christopher Waller and St Louis Branch Chairman James Bullard used separate events to emphasize that the central bank is committed to fighting runaway prices.
“Inflation is a tax on economic activity, and the higher that tax, the more it suppresses economic activity,” Waller said at an event hosted by the National Association for Business Economics.
“So if we don’t get inflation under control, inflation alone could land us in a really bad economic spot,” added Waller, who, like Bullard, is one of the more hawkish policymakers.
Those concerns were echoed by Bullard, who spoke Thursday at an event hosted by the Little Rock Regional Chamber in Arkansas. He warned that the economic situation is “already straining the Fed’s credibility with respect to its inflation target.”
At an annual rate of 4.7% in May, so-called core PCE inflation is well above the Fed’s 2% target.
Waller and Bullard argue that the Fed is planning another 0.75 percentage point rate hike when its monetary policy committee meets again at the end of this month, after making the first such hike since 1994 when of its meeting in June.
“We may have to take the risk of causing economic hardship,” Waller said on Thursday, although he stressed that recession fears were “overblown.”
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