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Fed official: Increases in rates may not be over

Inflation's a concern, not recession, he says

DALLAS -- A member of the Federal Reserve's policy-making arm said yesterday that inflation is gaining momentum, making it impossible to say whether the Fed is done raising interest rates.

Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, also said that while the economy is cooling because of a surprisingly severe housing slowdown and rising energy prices, there is no recession in sight.

Fisher is believed to be the first member of the Federal Open Market Committee to speak publicly since last week, when the panel voted not to raise key short-term interest rates. There has been much speculation since whether the vote represented merely a pause or whether the Fed was done raising rates.

Yesterday, the Labor Department said consumer inflation accelerated in July, reflecting a jump in energy prices.

Fisher told reporters he believes the previous rate hikes are beginning to tamp down inflation but that no one can tell when their full impact will hit.

``If anybody tells you with absolute conviction that the Fed is done raising interest rates or with equal conviction that they have only paused . . . they are only guessing," Fisher said.

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