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Rosengren urges Fed officials to consider up to 4 rate hikes in 2017

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren said he would like U.S. central bank officials to consider raising interest rates four times this year.

"My own view is that an increase at every other FOMC meeting over the course of this year could and should be the committee's default," Rosengren said during a March 29 speech in Boston, according to prepared remarks. That would mean that the central bank would lift interest rates at its June, September and December policy meetings and bring its total number of rate increases for the year to four.

Federal Open Market Committee members voted at their March meeting to lift the target range for the Fed's key federal funds rate to between 0.75% and 1%. Rosengren said that the Fed would not tighten financial conditions unless "all the evidence" calls for it, but added that some Fed officials are now projecting that improvement in the economy, and particularly labor markets, may overshoot sustainable levels.

The Boston Fed president does not currently have a vote on the Fed's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee.

Rosengren also stressed that in his view real interest rates are still in negative territory — and that it may be appropriate now for policymakers to consider bringing them higher through more increases in the central bank's benchmark interest rate. "It is unusual to still have negative real interest rates late in a recovery when the economy is close to full employment and nearing the inflation target," Rosengren said.