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BlackRock's CEO expects more rate hikes as inflation persists

Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock, at the NYSE in New York

By Davide Barbuscia and Tom Sims

NEW YORK (Reuters) - BlackRock Inc Chief Executive Laurence Fink said on Wednesday that inflation remained sticky and the Federal Reserve may need to hike interest rates further to contain price pressures.

Fink, who heads the world's largest asset manager, said at a Deutsche Bank financial services conference that he expects at least two more rate increases by the Fed. But he downplayed the risk of a U.S. recession, saying that, if one occurs, it would likely be modest.

"The Fed is going to have to be more vigilant. The economy is more resilient than the market realizes," he said. Even so, Fink said there were "pockets of problems" in the economy, such as the commercial real estate sector.

"I just don't see evidence of a reduction in inflation, or I don't see evidence that we're going to have a hard landing," he said, referring to a scenario in which the Fed's rate-hiking campaign pushes the economy into contraction.

Fink said he expected a resolution to the U.S. debt ceiling crisis, but that the "drama" around raising the government's borrowing limit had eroded trust in the dollar.

A bill to lift the government's borrowing cap is expected to get Congressional approval over the coming days, just ahead of the June 5 deadline indicated by the Treasury as when the government could run out of cash to pay for all its obligations.

"I believe we'll have a resolution, ... but let's be clear, the United States is jeopardizing its reserve currency status," he said.

The protracted debate around debt ceiling legislation, the risk of a U.S. default and possible credit rating downgrades were all "destabilizing" factors for the U.S. dollar, which is the world's leading reserve currency, he said.

In conversations with heads of global central banks, Fink said, questions were raised over having too much risk and emphasis on the U.S. dollar.

"We are eroding some of that trust, which in the long run we need to rectify and rebuild," he said.

(Reporting by Davide Barbuscia and Tom Sims; Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler)