St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said he argued against last week's decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve to hold interest rates steady, and felt other policymakers had not made a compelling case for yet again delaying a rate hike.
Bullard does not currently vote on the Fed's policy setting committee and thus could not join Richmond Fed chief Jeffrey Lacker in dissenting from the decision to hold rates near zero for at least another six weeks.
But he was sharply critical of the decision in remarks to a community banking group here.
"The Committee has not, in my view, provided a satisfactory answer," to how near zero interest rates align with close to full employment and continued economic growth, Bullard said. Even though inflation is weak, rates will still be extraordinarily low even after an initial rate increase, Bullard said, and thus would continue to support economic growth and ultimately higher prices.
"The case for policy normalization is quite strong," Bullard said, contending that the Fed's dual employment and inflation objectives "have essentially been met."
Rather than clarify the Fed's direction, Bullard said last week's decision seemed to increase uncertainty about the direction of the U.S. economy.