February 23, 2016 / 3:18 PM / 3 years ago

Fed's Kashkari expects moderate U.S. growth, inflation to rise

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari speaks during an interview at Reuters in New York February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Neel Kashkari, the new chief of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, said Tuesday he expects the U.S. economy to grow at a “moderate” pace this year, although he sees both upside and downside risks to that forecast.

He did not provide details on the risks he sees, although he mentioned uncertainty about China’s economic outlook, as well as his faith that if oil prices stay low, “I think we’ll start to see people spend more of that money over time.”

Kashkari, a Republican who helped run the government’s bank bailout during the financial crisis, used his first public appearances last week to announce an ambitious project to prevent future bank bailouts. He has so far said little about his views on the economy or monetary policy.

Kashkari’s remarks Tuesday suggest little differentiates his views from those of the center of the Fed’s policy-setting committee.

“We’re getting data all the time. Some data is a little bit optimistic, some data is little bit pessimistic, but I think moderate economic outlook is still the base case,” Kashkari said. “Moderate” is the term used by the Fed in its most recent statement to describe the pace of U.S. economic growth this year.

Kashkari also reiterated the Fed’s commitment to its 2-percent inflation target, adding that he expects as more people get jobs in a growing economy, wages will rise, pushing up inflation.

The Minneapolis Fed chief next votes on monetary policy in 2017.

Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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