WASHINGTON (Reuters) - St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said on Tuesday he does not think the U.S. central bank needs to cut interest rates by a half-percentage point at its next meeting in July, even though he pushed to lower rates last week.
“Just sitting here today, I think 50 basis points would be overdone,” Bullard said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “I don’t think the situation really calls for that, but I would be willing to go 25 (basis points).”
At a meeting last Wednesday, the central bank left interest rates on hold but signaled reductions beginning as early as July.
Bullard dissented, arguing that weak inflation and uncertainties about the outlook for economic growth warranted a rate cut.
Asked why he was not now advocating for a bigger cut in July, the regional Fed bank chief said the economic situation was not so dire as to need such a dramatic move.
“I don’t think we have to take huge action,” he said. “This is more in the realm of insurance, in the realm of ordinary adjustments to monetary policy that you should be making to be sensitive to market developments.”
Indeed, Bullard said he saw only a cumulative half-point cut in the Fed’s benchmark rate by year end.
Reporting by Susan Heavey and Jason Lange; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama