U.S. Markets

Fed may need to raise interest rates in 'near future': Kaplan

The Federal Reserve Building stands in Washington April 3, 2012. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

NORMAN, Okla. (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve might need to raise interest rates in the near future to avoid falling behind the curve on inflation, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said on Monday.

Kaplan, who is a voting member on the central bank’s rate-setting committee this year, clarified a point he has made several times in recent weeks that a rate increase should come sooner than later.

“Sooner rather than later means in the near future,” Kaplan told journalists after speaking at an event with university students in Norman, Oklahoma.

Kaplan did not specify at which policy meeting he thought the Fed should raise rates.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen has cited the next three policy meetings - in March, May and June - as possible occasions for a rate increase. The Fed last raised rates in December and signaled that three further increases were likely in 2017.

Kaplan said U.S. consumers were positioned to push the economy to grow more than 2 percent this year.

Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Paul Simao