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Mester: Fed will watch growth concerns after clear progress on inflation

FILE PHOTO: Financial leaders from around the world gathered for the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Fed officials at some point will begin balancing concerns about growth against their inflation goals, but not until inflation is clearly heading back towards its 2% target, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said on Thursday.

"At this point price stability is still job one. We have to get that out of the way," before worrying about the impact on economic growth, Mester said in comments at an inflation conference at the Cleveland Fed.

"As inflation moves back down, then those decisions become judgments about when do you hold, how long do you hold, when do you move things back down. But right now the focus is on making sure that we’ve achieved price stability."

Mester said that Fed plans to raise rates to the mid-4% range then hold them there shows the central bank will allow time to see how their policy impacts the economy once policy becomes appropriately "restrictive."

(Reporting by Howard Schneider; editing by Diane Craft)