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Fed’s Williams Talks Accommodative Policy as Fed Rate Decision Nears

Fed’s Williams Talks Accommodative Policy as Fed Rate Decision Nears

Ryan Cox,

Talking Points:

  • Fed President Williams said the US economy is strengthening but still faces headwind from abroad
  • Williams made an argument for a gradual pace of removing Fed accommodation
  • He believes that zero interest rates are likely not needed in near future

San Francisco Fed President John Williams spoke today in an interview with Bloomberg. During his interview he talked about the possibilities of a Fed rate hike along with the US economy and general monetary policy. Williams said the US economy is strengthening though there are still risks from significant headwinds abroad. He stated there is a need for accommodative Fed policy for a few years and he expects it to be remain supportive after liftoff.

Williams saw strong arguments on both sides for a Fed liftoff but he prefers to move a bit earlier and then go gradually. He argued for a gradual pace of removing Fed accommodation. He believes that the new normal for interest rates is likely to be lower and that the Fed can clearly lower rates again after liftoff if needed. Williams stated that zero interest rates are likely not needed in near future but did not say what his vote would be for the upcoming October FOMC meeting. Here are further highlights from his interview:

  • The US economy is still on a good trajectory
  • There are indications that the pace of growth is slowing a bit
  • Second half 2015 growth will be about 2 percent at annual rate
  • He sees 2 to 2.5 percent GDP growth next year
  • The US will be a running high pressure economy next two years
  • A pace robust enough to bring people into labor market
  • He has seen huge progress in jobs market and expects continued job gains
  • The unemployment rate is close to full employment
  • He expects the jobless rate to move below 5 percent
  • He believes inflation will return to 2 percent over the next couple of years
  • Energy prices are holding down overall inflation , underlying inflation is not nearly as low
  • It takes a year or two for Fed policy actions to have their economic impact

Upcoming scheduled commentary from Fed officials this week:

(Tue 10/20 13:00 GMT) Fed’s Dudley and Powell Speak at Market Conference in New York

(Tue 10/20 15:00 GMT) Fed Chair Yellen Opening Remarks at Ceremony

(Wed 10/21 17:30 GMT) Fed’s Powell Moderates Panel on Market Liquidity in New York

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