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America   Overheating in the economy

Evans says Fed may raise rates four times, Kashkari against hikes

Charles EvansThe U.S. central bank might hike rates a total of four times over the course of 2017, and not three, a top official said.

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In remarks to broadcaster FOX Business, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Charles Evans said that if the improvement in the economy were sustained then the monetary authority would likely raise rates twice more over the rest of the year.

However, should inflation edge past 2.0%, or just over the 2% which the central bank preferred then four rate hikes were possible.

America's economy would grow at a 2.25% pace in 2017, with lacklustre wage growth - despite the tight jobs market - weighing on the pace of expansion.

The president of the Minneapolis Fed bank voiced his opposition to further policy tightening this year, until the central bank had published details of its plans to reduce its balance sheet.

In remarks to CNBC, Neel Kashkari reportedly said he opposed the Federal Open Market Committee's decision on March 15 to raise rates because nothing in the economy had changed.

Inflation was still running below policymakers' 2.0% goal and the jobs market still improving. The inflation target should be just that, not a "ceiling".

Prices could even run a bit above target without need to worry of "overheating"' in the economy, he said.

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