In a speech overnight, Fed Governor Adriana Kugler said she’s satisfied with the disinflationary progress, and expects it to “continue”. However, she was quick to temper this optimism with a note of caution, emphasizing that Fed’s work in combating inflation is far from over. The unpredictability of consumer behavior stands as a reminder of unforeseen developments to “slow progress on inflation.”
Kugler also pointed to the recent employment report, which showed unexpected strength. While a strong labor market is generally a positive sign, in the context of Fed’s efforts to cool inflation, such robustness could complicate the path to achieving a balanced demand-supply equation in both product and labor markets.
Fed Governor underscored the importance of monitoring geopolitical risks, particularly highlighting how the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and tensions in the Middle East could exacerbate inflationary pressures through “higher commodity prices” and global trade “disruptions”, “in turn pushing up goods inflation in the US”.
“At some point, the continued cooling of inflation and labor markets may make it appropriate to reduce the target range for the federal funds rate,” she noted. Conversely, “if progress on disinflation stalls, it may be appropriate to hold the target range steady at its current level for longer to ensure continued progress on our dual mandate.”