The next consumer price index could prophesize how much the Fed will raise interest rates by after its March meeting, Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel told CNBC on Friday. February CPI is scheduled to come out on March 10, just days before the Fed's March 15-16 meeting. "I think March 10th will tell us. And if that number is also above expectations, I think they've got to go at least 50 basis points in March," Siegel said. Aggressive action from the Fed is long overdue, Siegel said on "Squawk Box." After Thursday's higher-than-expected January CPI increase , the question isn't whether central bankers will hike next month, it's more of a case of whether they will do 25 basis points or 50 basis points move. "I've been saying for over a year they're way behind the curve," Siegel said. "It makes no sense to even think about … rates below one percent when you're having inflation between seven and eight [percent]." "So I think that there's going to be more hawkish surprises," he predicted. In a note Thursday evening, Goldman Sachs adjusted its forecast to seven 25 basis point increases after that biggest consumer inflation jump since February 1982 and St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard's call for 100 basis points worth of interest rate increases by July 1 sank markets. While several Fed officials have reportedly privately and publicly pushed back against Bullard's call for a so-called super-sized rate hike, Siegel said Bullard may not be off the mark. "Remember last September, more than half the FOMC members didn't think there was going to be one rate hike in 2022, then inflation got worse, than its two, three, four," Siegel said, referring to the Federal Market Open Committee, the central bank's policymaking panel. "All we need is one more bad report," the Wharton professor said. "We've had price increases in this last month that are gonna show up on March 10. They're not gonna get a good report. That, I think, will sway these other members," he added.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
The next consumer price index could prophesize how much the Fed will raise interest rates by after its March meeting, Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel told CNBC on Friday.