The Federal Reserve has already cut its key policy interest rate twice this year, and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans thinks that’s enough.
Evans is a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee and while he thinks there is some softening happening in the U.S. economy, it’s still in fine shape to continue its expansion that is now over a decade long.
“I think policy probably is in a good place right now,” Evans said during a speech in Peoria, Illinois, according to CNBC. “All told, the growth outlook is good, and we have policy accommodation in place to support rising inflation.”
He did warn against the dreaded “uncertainties” that the Fed is seemingly always on the lookout for.
“There is some risk that the economy will have more difficulty navigating all the uncertainties out there or that unexpected downside shocks might hit,” he said.
And while Evans admitted that “there is an argument for more accommodation” to create a buffer against risk, he said his “assessment is pretty much in line” with what the Fed had decided upon in the FOMC meeting last month.
During that meeting, the Fed agreed to cut its key policy interest rate by another 25 basis points to a range of 1.75%-2%, but the minutes released afterward showed growing dissent among officials regarding the cut, casting doubt for the future.
The vote for the cut passed on a 7-3 decision, with two dissenting votes wanting no interest rate cut, and the other “no” vote arguing for a 0.5% cut instead of .25%. Opposition voters cited concern of financial imbalances created by cutting rates too much, such inflated stock prices.
Evans also argues that the Fed is limited in how much it can actually do to fight off a downturn, or worse, a recession.
“We need to acknowledge that there is a limit to what monetary policy alone can accomplish,” he said.
The Fed will meet again to decide on the future of their key fund rate Oct. 29-30. Investors are banking on another 25-basis-points cut, and the CME FedWatch tool has the probability of that happening at 89.3% as of noon EDT, Wednesday.