Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard says it’s ‘very hard to see the case’ for the Fed pausing rate hikes


Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard said Thursday that it’s unlikely the central bank will be taking a break from its current rate-hiking cycle anytime soon.

Though she stressed that Fed policymakers will remain data-dependent, Brainard said the most likely path will be that the increases will continue until inflation is tamed.

“Right now, it’s very hard to see the case for a pause,” she told CNBC’s Sara Eisen during a live “Squawk on the Street” interview. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do to get inflation down to our 2% target.”

The idea of implementing two more 50 basis point rate increases over the summer then taking a step back in September has been floated by a few officials, most notably Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic. Minutes from the May meeting indicated some support for the idea of evaluating where things stand in the fall, but there were no commitments.

In recent days, policymakers including San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly and Governor Christopher Waller have stressed the importance of using the central bank’s policy tools aggressively to bring down inflation running around its fastest pace since the early 1980s.

“We’re certainly going to do what is necessary to bring inflation back down,” Brainard said. “That’s our No. 1 challenge right now. We are starting from a position of strength. The economy has a lot of momentum.”

Markets already are pricing in two 50 basis point increases at the next meetings, which Brainard called “a reasonable kind of path.” Beyond that, though, “it’s a little hard to say,” she added.

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