Fed open to speedier interest rates hikes if high inflation persists - Powell

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies during the Senate Banking Committee hearing titled "The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress", in Washington, U.S., March 3, 2022. Tom Williams/Pool via REUTERS

March 21 (Reuters) - Federal Reserve policymakers will consider speeding up the pace of interest rate hikes this year should high inflation not begin to abate, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Monday.

"The expectation going into this year was that we would see inflation peaking in the first quarter, then maybe leveling out and see a lot of progress in the second half. That story has already fallen apart," Powell said in comments to a National Association for Business Economics conference in Washington. "To the extent it continues to fall apart my colleagues and I may well reach the conclusion we'll need to move more quickly and if so we'll do so."

He repeated that as part of that policymakers would raise interest rates by 50 basis points at any meeting or meeting if they felt it was required.

Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by

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