Fed’s Mester repeats first rate hike could come at the end of 2022

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve’s conditions for raising interest rates could be met by the end of 2022, Cleveland Fed Bank President Loretta Mester said on Friday, adding that she expects inflation to come back down to the central bank’s target next year.

“I think we’ll see progress in the labor market and progress on inflation coming back down,” Mester said during a virtual panel organized by the Shadow Open Market Committee, repeating an outlook she shared last week.

Mester said she expects inflation will start to come back down once supply side and pent-up demand factors ease, forecasting inflation will be above 2% in 2022 and 2023.

Projections the Fed released after its September meeting https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/fed-likely-open-bond-buying-taper-door-hedge-outlook-2021-09-22 showed that policymakers are evenly split on when they expect rates to increase, with nine of the 18 Fed officials projecting they may need to start raising rates in 2022.

Mester said she expects inflation expectations to remain well anchored, but that officials may need to respond if inflation stayed elevated and medium to long-term inflation expectations continued to rise.

Mester will have a vote on the Fed’s policy-setting committee in 2022.

(Reporting by Jonnelle Marte; Editing by Andrea Ricci)