Cleveland Fed President Mester: Economy Can Handle a Rate Hike

By Steve GoldsteinMarketWatch Pulse

In a speech on Wednesday, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester called for an interest-rate hike but said the timing of it wasn't important. "My own assessment is that the economy can handle an increase in the fed funds rate. A small increase in interest rates from zero is not tight monetary policy, and with the economic progress we've made and that I expect to continue, monetary policy can take a step back from the emergency measure of zero interest rates," she said. She also said the timing isn't significant. "The FOMC meets eight times a year, and the difference in lifting off from a zero interest rate a meeting or two earlier or later is not significant."

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