August 24, 2018 / 12:46 PM / 3 months ago

Fed's Bullard wants to pause rate hikes, Mester does not

FILE PHOTO: St. Louis Fed President James Bullard speaks about the U.S. economy during an interview in New York February 26, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve should stop raising interest rates now because the economy is showing no signs of inflation surging and is expected to slow next year after the effects of fiscal stimulus wear off, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said Friday.

“If it was just me I’d stand pat where we are and I’d try to react to data as it comes in,” Bullard told CNBC at an annual central bankers’ conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “I just don’t see much inflation pressure.”

In a separate interview with CNBC, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester took the opposite view, saying she still thinks raising rates gradually is appropriate.

The Fed under Chair Jerome Powell has been raising rates and is expected to do so again when policymakers meet next month. He is due to speak on monetary policy later Friday. Under the Fed’s rotating voting system for Fed regional bank presidents Bullard does not have a vote this year, but he participates in rate-setting discussions. Mester is a voting member of the Fed’s policy committee this year.

Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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