Harker could back 3 more Fed rate hikes in face of U.S. inflation

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rising inflation means the Federal Reserve should hike interest rates two or possibly three more times this year, and could move as soon as next month, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said on Monday.

Harker, a centrist at the U.S. central bank, said that while he currently sees two more rate rises this year, after an initial policy-tightening in March, “it is possible that we see an acceleration of inflation that I could be supportive of a third” rise.

“I do think it is prudent to continue to move away from the zero lower bound when we can,” Harker said, adding: Inflation “does seem to be moving toward 2 percent ... and there is not much slack in the labor markets, so I think it’s appropriate to continue to move rates up judiciously.”

“That could be as early as June, I don’t know,” added Harker, who in February penciled in only two total rate hikes in 2018.

Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama