Fed’s Charles Evans tells CNBC rates can stay unchanged into fall of 2020

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Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans said on Monday that he’d be comfortable leaving interest rates alone until autumn 2020 to help ensure healthy inflation in the U.S.

“I can see the funds rate being flat and unchanged into the fall of 2020. For me, that’s to help support the inflation outlook and make sure it’s sustainable,” Evans told CNBC’s Steve Liesman.

“I had been thinking that inflation was finally going to be solid, hit 2% in a sustained basis — maybe go over a little bit. That was my projection,” Evans added. “And on the strength of that I had — as recently as September and December — thought that maybe a couple rate hikes were in our future.”

As a member of the central bank’s policymaking arm in 2019, Evans joined his fellow Fed colleagues in voting to hold the benchmark overnight lending rate steady in March. The Federal Open Market Committee also suggested at its meeting last month that no more interest rate increases will be coming this year.

Evans told CNBC in March that recent concerns about an inverted yield curve — where short-term yields exceed long-term, often viewed as a recession indicator — and general growth angst were enough to make some economists nervous.

“I think anytime the economy decelerates from 3.1% down to 2%, it takes a really sharp-minded focus to kind of go, ‘All right, it’s less than what we had but it’s still pretty good,'” he said at the time.

Though Evans sees economic growth of between 1.75% and 2% this year, he noted in March that the U.S. labor market looked strong and that he wasn’t worried about inflation or a recession.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

2019-04-15 12:35:00

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