Fed’s Daly: absolutely no urgency to cut US interest rates

(Reuters) – San Francisco Federal Reserve President Mary Daly said on Friday there is still “a lot of work to do” to make sure inflation is on track to the Fed’s 2% goal, and there is “absolutely” no urgency to cut rates.

“Policy’s in a good place right now, and I need to be fully confident that inflation is on track to come down to 2%, which is our definition of price stability, before we would consider a rate cut,” Daly said at an event at the regional Fed bank.

With the labor market strong and inflation falling more slowly than it did last year, she said, the Fed will maintain its current stance “as long as necessary” to bring down inflation.

“There’s absolutely, in my mind, no urgency to adjust the policy rate,” she said, echoing a sentiment also expressed by several of her colleagues this week.

A government report earlier this week showed consumer price inflation was stronger than expected in March, a third upside monthly surprise this year that prompted traders and economists to pare their expectations for how soon the Fed will cut rates, and how deeply.

In March Fed policymakers generally anticipated three rate cuts, suggesting a June start to what many analysts had thought would be once-per-quarter rate reductions through year end.

After this week’s inflation data financial markets are pricing in just two rate cuts.

Daly declined to say how the data affects her assessment of the number of rate cuts that will eventually be needed.

“I actually think there’s too much discussion about is it going to be two or three or four or one, and not enough discussion on what are we trying to accomplish and are we still committed to accomplishing it?” she said.

Inflation’s progress downward was always going to be bumpy she said, but “the commitment we have remains the same: restore price stability as gently as we can and maintain our policy stance as long as is necessary to be fully confident that we’re on that path.

(Reporting by Ann Saphir; editing by Diane Craft)