The U.S. economy is strong enough to warrant further interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve, Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said on Wednesday.
In a speech on the U.S. economy, Barkin argued that the Fed’s benchmark interest rate was below normal levels, a suggestion that Fed policy was still stimulating economic growth, which he said was solid.
“It is difficult to argue that lower than normal rates are appropriate when unemployment is low and inflation is effectively at the Feds target,” Barkin said in Roanoke, Virginia.
The U.S. central bank kept interest rates unchanged last week, but its statement pointed to strength in the economy and bolstered expectations it would raise borrowing costs in September.
The Fed has been slowly raising interest rates since 2015. Barkin told reporters afterward that gradually raising rates was a “sensible” approach.