By Jason Douglas
LONDON--Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said Wednesday that he is still leaning toward backing an interest-rate rise increase in December, saying the outlook for monetary policy in the short term is unchanged following Donald Trump's victory in this month's presidential election.
"A single policy rate increase, possibly in December, may be sufficient to move monetary policy to a neutral setting," Mr. Bullard said in a speech at an event hosted by UBS Group AG in London.
Mr. Bullard is a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee. The panel meets next month in a gathering many had expected to result in a short-term rate rise, although thatoutcome had been clouded by Mr. Trump's unexpected victory.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Bullard said his own view of the economy hasn't changed since the election, as that data showed continued progress toward the Fed's goals on unemployment and inflation.
"Given the data I have to date, I haven't changed my outlook," he said.
Mr. Bullard added that, unlike some other Fed officials, he believes just one quarter-point rise in the central bank's short-term policy rate is necessary over the next couple of years. The St. Louis Fed president has advanced the argument that the U.S. economy is in a low-rate "regime, " where productivity growth and the economy's potential to grow rapidly are subdued.
Mr. Bullard said it would take time for the economic effects of Mr. Trump's presidency to become clear.
During his campaign for the presidency, Mr. Trump talked up the need for greater spending on infrastructure. Mr. Bullard said such spending could raise U.S. productivity in future years.
Longer-term, Mr. Trump's policies on immigration and trade were also likely to have economic effects, he added. Mr. Trump has advocated renegotiating trade deals and restricting immigration.
Mr. Bullard said that after almost a decade of central bank stimulus aimed at stabilizing the economy, it is time that policy makers in the U.S. worked to raise the economy's long-term growth potential, such as well-designed infrastructure improvements aimed at boosting productivity.
"What we really need is to get the trend growth rate higher," he told reporters.
Mr. Bullard's remarks come amid a debate in Europe and the U.S. over the extent of central bank intervention in the economy. Mr. Trump publicly criticized Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen during his campaign for the presidency, saying the Fed's low-rate policies aided President Barack Obama.
Mr. Bullard said such debates are healthy but that having an independent central bank focused on inflation and unemployment is the best policy.
"I think we are doing very well with respect to our mandate," he said.
Write to Jason Douglas at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 16, 2016 07:11 ET (12:11 GMT)
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