New York Federal Reserve President John Williams said Friday he sees the central bank steadily make interest rate increases amid high inflation and labor market recovery.

“With today’s strong economy and inflation that is well above our 2 percent longer-run goal, it is time to start the process of steadily moving the target range back to more normal levels,” he said in his remarks at New Jersey City University via videoconference.

“Once the interest rate increases are underway, the next step will be to start the process of steadily and predictably reducing our holdings of Treasury and mortgage-based securities, which had grown significantly as a result of the purchases that began in March 2020,” he added.

Williams, who has a voting right in the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), said it would be appropriate to start making rates hikes at the Fed’s next meeting in March.

The Fed’s first rate hike is expected to come at the conclusion of its two-day meeting on March 15-16, but analysts are divided whether it would be a 25 basis or 50 basis points of increase.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who also has a voting right in the FOMC this year, said Thursday the central bank is more than 300 basis points behind its inflation target.

Bullard, with a more hawkish stance, said on Feb. 10 that he expects the Fed to make a total of 100 basis points of interest rate increase before July in order to tame record-high inflation.

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