Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic said Monday that the economy has a “way to go” before the central bank pulls back on policy, but said that a rate hike could be back on the table in the later part of 2022.
“I do think there is some possibility that the economy could come back a bit stronger than some people are expecting,” Bostic said in remarks to the Rotary Club of Atlanta. “And if that happens, I am prepared to support pulling back and recalibrating a bit of our accommodation.”
Bostic clarified that he does not see a rate hike happening in 2021, but said increasing the federal funds rate “might be more in play” in the second half of 2022 or 2023.
“A whole lot would have to happen for us to get there,” Bostic said.
The Atlanta Fed chief said the Fed would first pull back on its massive asset purchase program before raising interest rates, which the Fed slashed to zero in March.
Bostic said the central bank’s next moves would depend on the spread of COVID-19 and the vaccine distribution.
“I think that there’s some good upside potential there,” Bostic separately told reporters.
Bostic added that he is not suggesting a reduction in the Fed’s pace of asset purchases in the first half of this year, but felt that communication of policy with “long lead times” were “really important.”
The Fed’s latest guidance from December committed the central bank to buying at least $120 billion in mortgage-backed securities and U.S. Treasuries per month until the Fed reaches “substantial further progress” in the recovery.
Brian Cheung is a reporter covering the Fed, economics, and banking for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter @bcheungz.