(Bloomberg) -- European Central Bank Governing Council member Gabriel Makhlouf said he supports raising borrowing costs by a similar amount to last month’s half-point hike at the two upcoming meetings.

“We need to continue to increase rates at our meeting next week — by taking a similar step to our December decisions — and also at our March meeting,” Makhlouf said Wednesday in a speech. “Although our future policy decisions need to continue to be data-dependent given the prevailing uncertainty.”

Addressing lawmakers in an Irish parliamentary committee, Makhlouf said it “would not be surprising to see us on this path of interest-rate rises beyond the first quarter,” though the ECB’s meeting-by-meeting approach meant saying at what level rates would peak was wildly speculative.

The Irish central bank chief also said:

  • “Inflation remains far too high and interest rates will have to rise significantly at a steady pace to reach levels sufficiently restrictive to ensure a timely return of inflation to our 2% medium-term target”
  • “Bringing inflation back to target is essential for the wellbeing of our economy and community”
  • “Raising the policy rate also signals our commitment to price stability. It sends a clear message that we will not allow inflation to stay above 2% and helps to contain inflation expectations”
  • Rates may stay in restrictive territory “for a while”

--With assistance from Morwenna Coniam.

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