Fed prepared to take 'stronger action' to fight inflation: Brainard
Reducing high inflation is of "paramount importance" for the US central bank and policymakers are prepared to act more aggressively if needed, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said Tuesday.
"Getting inflation down is our most important task, while sustaining a recovery that includes everyone," Brainard said in a prepared speech, noting that rising prices for food and fuel hurt lower-income families the most.
The central bank's policy-setting committee "is prepared to take stronger action" if warranted, said Brainard, who is awaiting congressional confirmation for the position of Fed vice chair.
The committee took the first step to raise the benchmark lending rate last month with a quarter-point increase, but a growing number of central bankers, including Fed Chair Jerome Powell, have signaled bigger steps could be coming as soon as its meeting next month.
The Fed also is expected to start reducing its massive bond holdings as part of its efforts to cool price pressures and bring inflation back down towards its two percent target.
"It is of paramount importance to get inflation down," Brainard said. "Accordingly, the committee will continue tightening monetary policy methodically through a series of interest rate increases and by starting to reduce the balance sheet at a rapid pace as soon as our May meeting."