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Though an interest rate hike announcement is unlikely, expect the Federal Reserve to "pave the way" for an increase Wednesday to soften potential market havoc down the road, a former Philadelphia Fed board member said Tuesday.
"One thing that Janet Yellen does not want is she doesn't want a big surprise. By paving the way, it won't spook the markets," said Ted Peters, CEO of Bluestone Financial Institutions Fund, in a CNBC "Closing Bell" interview.
The U.S. central bank's June policy meeting wraps up on Wednesday, with market watchers looking for hints of when the Fed will abandon its near-zero interest rate policy. Peters believes the Fed will hike rates in September and December for a total increase of 50 basis points.
With the potential to provoke a strong market reaction with the move, the Fed will likely give a warning Wednesday, Peters said. He added that recent labor market data show indicate the Fed will move this year, even if inflation hasn't reached the Fed's 2 percent target.
The Fed has repeatedly stressed that data would drive its decision. The U.S. economy created a better-than-expected 288,000 jobs in May as wages grew by 8 cents an hour, equal to an annualized increase of 2.3 percent.
But the Fed may not give much of a signal Wednesday as it may be "too early to make a confident hint," said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics research at BofA Merrill Lynch.
"I don't think they really know, themselves," Harris said on CNBC on Tuesday.
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Economic data like growth and inflation have not reached the Fed's expectations, he said. He noted that 4 percent annual GDP growth—recently outlined as a goal by Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush—would be feasible "if we want double-digit inflation."
Harris added that risks to markets may come much closer to when the Fed actually increases rates.