Fed's Williams says U.S. rate rise likely this year, economy to bounce back

Thu May 28, 2015 6:14am EDT
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By Masayuki Kitano and Saeed Azhar

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - San Francisco Fed President John Williams said on Thursday the Fed was likely to raise interest rates later this year, adding that he expects above-trend U.S. growth for the rest of 2015 after a weak first quarter.

Asked by reporters in Singapore about the possible timing of a U.S. rate hike, Williams said the subject is "on the table" at every meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, whether the next one at June 16-17 or later ones.

"We're going to be...likely raising interest rates later this year, raising them gradually over the next few years," Williams said during a Q&A session with the audience after delivering a speech at a symposium.

The Fed's post-meeting policy statement in April had put in place a meeting-by-meeting approach on the timing of its first rate hike since June 2006, making such a decision solely dependent on incoming economic data.

"I have an FOMC meeting coming up in several weeks. I don't need to make decisions today. Collect some more data, get some more information, have discussions and analysis," Williams said.

"Data-dependent means nothing is baked in the cake or locked in," he added.


John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, speaks in San Francisco, California March 27, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith