Fed President: Central Bank 'Should be Patient' with Interest Rates

Last week, the Federal Reserve didn’t pull any rabbit punches on the capital markets by raising interest rates another 25 basis points to a range of 2.25 to 2.50. In order to mitigate the risk of a recession, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said the central bank needs to exercise patience with further rate hikes.

“My view is we should be patient. We should pause the rate increases, let the economy continue to strengthen,” said Kashkari. “And if inflation picks up, we can always raise rates then.”

The stock markets’ latest declines didn’t veer the Fed off their rate-hiking path. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 are down 9.37 percent and 11.57 percent, respectively, in the last three months.

Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite has lost close to 14 percent within the last three months of what’s been a volatile market for U.S. equities. Nonetheless, backed by a solid economic growth and a strong labor market, the Fed forged on with hiking rates.

The markets have certainly taken a turn for the worst since September’s rate hike, and the Fed Chair did indeed recognize the change. Rather than completely ignore the latest market oscillations, Powell took these factors into account at the post-rate-hike presser, saying that “cross currents have emerged” and “financial market volatility” has increased.

Asked about the housing market and its doldrums with respect to rising rates, Kashkari said the economy still has forward momentum despite the real estate slowdown.