But Fed Chairman Jerome Powell also sought to reassure financial markets last week, saying policymakers will be "patient" before making any further moves as they watch to see how the economy evolves and could react quickly to any changes.
Four Federal Reserve regional chiefs declared that the central bank can take its time to assess market turbulence and risks to the USA economy before adjusting monetary policy again, solidifying support for a pause from interest-rate increases. "Neither the pace nor the ultimate endpoint of future rate increases was known".
These threats made the future path of interest rate hikes "less clear", they said.More news: New 2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet revealed
Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic earlier told an audience in Chattanooga, Tennessee that a "patient approach" to policy was warranted.
"If the economy slowed down more than we thought, or the inflation outlook deteriorated more than I'm suggesting here, there might be grounds for a little bit lower (federal funds) rate in that scenario", Bullard said.
James Bullard, president of the St Louis Federal Reserve Bank, one of 12 in the Fed system and a voting member of the policy committee this year, called the current interest rate "a good level", in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Bullard also votes this year on the FOMC.More news: U.S. Dollar Rebounds After Falling for Fourth Straight Session
As inflation shows no signs of accelerating much beyond the Fed's two per cent target, there is no urgent need to raise the benchmark lending rate further, he said.
According to minutes of the Fed meeting December 18-19, officials believed that with inflation still muted the central bank "could afford to be patient" about future rate hikes.
The timing is "less clear" now due to a contrast between the solid U.S. economic data and the fears of a possible downturn amid rising trade confrontations displayed by financial markets and expressed by businesses, according to the report. As a result, he said the Fed should raise rates "eventually" to a range of 3 percent to 3.25 percent.More news: Facebook can't be deleted on some Samsung phones
"My own view is that the economic outlook is actually brighter than the outlook one might infer from recent financial-market movements", he said.