The Fed: Fed’s Collins says too early to tell how high benchmark interest rate needs to go


It is important to shift the focus from the pace of interest rate rises to how high they need to be to bring inflation lower, but it is hard to gauge the ultimate level that will be reached this cycle, said Boston Fed President Susan Collins in Friday.

“It is premature to signal how high rates should go,” Collins said, in remarks to the Brookings Institute.

Collins said it was hard to extract the signal from the October jobs report. Indicators of demand and the labor market may continue to send different signals as businesses have a need to fill vacant positions even with some slowing in demand, she said.

Read:U.S. economy adds 261,000 jobs in October

Collins said she was optimistic that the Fed could relieve inflation pressures in the economy without a significant economic slowdown.

As the Fed policymakers make decisions on interest rates, they need to keep in mind that the risks of inflation falling too slowly and the economy weakening too quickly are becoming more balanced, she added.

There are some hopeful signs that inflation may be beginning to moderate, Collins said.

And there are also early signs that consumer spending is slowing, she added.

On Wednesday, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.75 percentage point for the fourth straight policy meeting. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that more rate hikes would be needed and that the ultimate level of rates would be higher than the 4.5%-4.75% rate the central bank signaled in September.

U.S. stocks


were mostly higher after the October jobs report. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note

was up to 4.15%.

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