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Report: Atlanta Fed president backs one rate hike in 2019

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Report: Atlanta Fed president backs one rate hike in 2019

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta president said he is in favor of just one interest rate increase in 2019 as businesses fret about the U.S. economy and global growth, Reuters reported.

Raphael Bostic, who is not part of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee in 2019, said the Federal Reserve should proceed carefully to ensure that "we do not act too aggressively."

His comments come in the wake of a recent stock market sell-off and weak Chinese and European economic data, as a partial U.S. government shutdown continues.

Bostic reportedly cautioned that a protracted government shutdown, which has left hundreds of thousands of people out of work, could lead to a "more material" economic impact.

The Fed, which raised its benchmark interest rate four times in 2018, signaled a less aggressive approach in 2019, though showing few signs of pausing its tightening. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Jan. 4 the central bank "will be patient" on tightening monetary policy and is "listening carefully" to the stock market's concerns over slowing growth.

The current target for the federal funds rate may be at or close to neutral, according to Bostic, who was speaking at the Rotary Club of Atlanta.

The Fed will release the minutes of its December 2018 monetary policy meeting Jan. 9.