Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen is eyeing at least three benchmark interest rate increases this year, the Financial Times reports.
A quarter point increase is probable Wednesday following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting, with a robust February jobs report cited as one of the reasons to move forward – 235,000 jobs were added while unemployment slipped to 4.7 percent. Goldman Sachs analysts predict another increase to take place in June.
Yellen has been slow to raise rates, with only two increases happening since she took over in 2014. In January, she said it was time to do so again.
"The U.S. economy has exhibited remarkable resilience in the face of adverse shocks in recent years, and economic developments since mid-2016 have reinforced the Committee's confidence that the economy is on track to achieve our statutory goals," Yellen said during a speech in Chicago in mid-January. "Job gains have remained quite solid, and the unemployment rate, at 4.8 percent in January, is now in line with the median of FOMC participants' estimates of its longer-run normal level. On the whole, the prospects for further moderate economic growth look encouraging, particularly as risks emanating from abroad appear to have receded somewhat. The Committee currently assesses that the risks to the outlook are roughly balanced.”
Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, told CNBC the Fed should raise rates more now because of economic growth on a global level.
"It's also not just real growth, it's nominal — re-inflation showing up in a lot of places around the globe,” he said.
"I think it's more than a March rate hike. They're putting themselves on a schedule for three to four rate hikes a year," he said.
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