WASHINGTON: The Federal Reserve needs to accelerate the pace of interest rate increases to fight rising inflation, but can do so in a way that doesn't roil financial markets, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said Monday.

"Our credibility is on the line here," Bullard said on CNBC. After consumer prices saw their biggest jump in 40 years in January, he said the Fed should "front load" its actions and raise the benchmark borrowing rate to one percent by July.

Bullard, a voting member of the Fed's policy-setting committee, caused a sharp reaction by markets last week with similar comments on the need to remove stimulus from the economy provided during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The consumer price index in January jumped 7.5 percent compared to a year earlier, its largest increase since 1982.

US rate futures lift chances of 50 bps hike in March after strong CPI data

Bullard said the data capped four months of worrisome reports indicating that "inflation is broadening and possibly accelerating in the US economy."

"We've been surprised to the upside on inflation. This is a lot of inflation in the US economy," he said.

Bullard said he would try to convince his central bank colleagues of the need to move quickly, but defer to Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

"I do think we need to front load more of our planned removal of accommodation than we would have previously," he said.

"However, I think we can do it in a way that's organized and not disruptive to markets."

The Fed's next policy meeting is set for March 15-16, and some economists say the central bank could even make an aggressive, half-point increase to signal its determination to contain rising prices.


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