St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said the latest U.S. economic growth data boosts the case for the central bank to raise interest rates in September, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
“We are in good shape” to begin hiking rates at a policy meeting set for Sept. 16-17, Bullard, a hawkish Fed official who has long called for an earlier tightening, was quoted as saying in the online report on Friday.
Government data released Thursday showed that economic growth accelerated in the second quarter to a 2.3 percent annual rate, and that gross domestic product in the first quarter was revised up to 0.6 percent, from a 0.2 percent contraction previously.
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Bullard was quoted as saying the Fed needed to “get that behind us before we could get to the first rate rise,” and that “the outlook remains fairly good for the economy.” He shrugged off data on Friday showing surprisingly little growth in employer costs, the paper said.
Economists and investors are eyeing Fed meetings in September and December as the most likely timing of the first rate hike in nearly a decade.