Fed’s Harker Sees Liftoff in March, Three or Four Hikes in 2022

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker joined the widespread calls by his policy-making colleagues for higher interest rates this year, saying he favors a March liftoff and three or four hikes for the 2022.

“The inescapable logical conclusion of this situation -- inflation higher than we want and a very robust jobs market -- is to tighten monetary policy,” Harker said Thursday to a virtual event hosted by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Harker joins a large group of Fed officials -- led by St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and including one-time doves such as San Francisco leader Mary Daly -- in urging a near-term rate hike following the tapering of asset purchases, which is scheduled to end in March.

“My forecast is that we would have a 25 basis-point increase in March, barring any changes in the data,” Harker said in response to audience questions. “If I were to make that decision today given what I know today, I would be for that.”

“I have three 25 basis-point increases penciled in for this year,” he added. “I could be convinced of a fourth if inflation is not getting under control. But again, we have to look at the data.”