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Fed Governor Bowman says she's still open to raising rates if inflation doesn't improve

Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman said Tuesday the time is not right yet to start lowering interest rates, adding she would be open to raising if inflation doesn't pull back.

"Should the incoming data indicate that inflation is moving sustainably toward our 2 percent goal, it will eventually become appropriate to gradually lower the federal funds rate to prevent monetary policy from becoming overly restrictive," Bowman said in prepared remarks for a speech in London. "However, we are still not yet at the point where it is appropriate to lower the policy rate."

Those comments reflect a prevailing sentiment at the central bank, in which most policymakers have said in recent weeks that, while they still expect inflation to get back to the Fed's 2% target, they need more evidence.

Recent readings have shown moderating inflation, with the Fed's preferred indicator running just under 3%. However, the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee noted after its last meeting that there has been only "modest further progress."

Bowman noted that there are "a number of upside risks" prevailing that could accelerate her outlook, which is among the most hawkish of all policymakers.

"I remain willing to raise the target range for the federal funds rate at a future meeting should progress on inflation stall or even reverse," she said. "Given the risks and uncertainties regarding my economic outlook, I will remain cautious in my approach to considering future changes in the stance of policy."

The Commerce Department on Friday will release its reading on the May personal consumption expenditures price index, the Fed's preferred inflation gauge. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect a 12-month inflation rate of 2.6% on both the all-items