WASHINGTON, April 22 ― The Federal Reserve may opt to hike interest rates by half a percentage point at its policy meeting next month in a bid to battle record US inflation, the central bank's Chair Jerome Powell said yesterday.

“It is appropriate, in my view, to be moving a little more quickly. And I also think there's something in the idea of front-end loading whatever accommodation one thinks is appropriate,” Powell said during a debate on the global economy hosted by the International Monetary Fund on the sidelines of its spring meetings.

“I would say that 50 basis points will be on the table for the May meeting.”

US prices have risen over the past year at a rate not seen in four decades, sending the central bank scrambling to respond.

Last month, it hiked rates for the first time since slashing them to zero as the pandemic began, increasing them by a quarter point.

Top US officials have suggested more forceful increases will be necessary to keep prices under control, though they must also be mindful of the potential damage tighter lending conditions could do to the world's largest economy. ― AFP