Fed's Williams says central bank is not done with rate rises - FT © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: John Williams, chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, speaks at an event in New York, U.S., November 6, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

By Michael S. Derby

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams said the central bank is not done raising its short-term rate target, in an interview with the Financial Times published on Tuesday.

“We’ve indicated through our projections and our communications that we think we still have some ways to go to get the policy to this sufficiently restrictive stance to get inflation to 2%. All of those reflect a commitment to get price stability not in over 10 years, but over a few years,” Williams told the newspaper in a transcript of his interview.

Williams did not put any numbers on how much tightening he expects from the Fed after it held its overnight target rate range steady last month at between 5% and 5.25%, while signaling it’s likely rates will rise a half percentage point more over the course of the year. Strong data is widely seen as pushing the Fed to raise rates again at the end of the month.

Williams said the economy has yet to feel the full impact of past rate hikes. “We are not getting the full effects of the restrictive policy that we put in place yet,” he said, adding “those are still ahead of us, although we have gotten some of the effects already in certain interest-rate-sensitive sectors.”

Williams said in the interview that supply and demand in the job market are coming into better balance and he doesn’t see the nation falling into a downturn.

“It’s still clearly a very strong labor market with very good jobs growth,” Williams said, adding that in terms of labor force participation rates he sees no weakness. But he added that there are “definitely signs of things slowing in terms of the direction of demand in labor.”

As for the economic outlook, “I don’t have a recession in my forecast. I have pretty slow growth,” Williams said.

The central banker also said the Fed’s balance sheet run-off process will continue for some time to come and did not give an end date.


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