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UPDATE 1-Fed's Harker says central bank should 'hold firm' on rates

Jonnelle Marte

(Updates lead and adds context)

NEW YORK, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker said in New York on Friday he opposed the central bank's September rate cut because the economy is strong and said he thinks the Fed should "hold firm" on interest rates.

Harker said that while inflation is currently below target, he expects it to reach the coveted 2% growth level over the next 18 months to two years. He said a robust labor market and strong consumer spending should sustain economic growth and lift inflation.

"The labor market continues to show remarkable strength, and were creating jobs above the rate we need to keep pace with growth," he said. "My own view is that we should hold firm, letting things settle and watching how events play out."

The Federal Reserve cut interest rates last week for the second time this year, after reducing them in July for the first time since the Great Recession.

Harker's disclosure that he opposed the most recent rate cut puts him in the same camp as Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren and Kansas City Fed President Esther George who voted against the rate decrease.

Harker is not a voting member of the Fed's policymaking committee this year, but will be in 2020.

Harker also addressed the recent volatility in money markets, saying that he doesn't think it has wider implications for the economy. (Reporting by Jonnelle Marte; Editing by Andrea Ricci)