Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams | Image: Bloomberg

By Laura Curtis and Alister Bull

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams said the latest US inflation data confirm price pressures are gradually easing but he still needs more evidence to adjust interest rates.

“I don’t see any indicators now telling me, oh, that there’s a reason to change the stance of monetary policy now, and I don’t expect that,” Williams said in an interview with Reuters published Thursday. “I don’t expect to get that greater confidence that we need to see on the inflation progress towards a 2% goal in the very near term.”

Fed officials have pushed out expectations for the first interest-rate cut, emphasizing a need to keep borrowing costs elevated for longer amid disappointing inflation prints in the first quarter.

“Monetary policy is restrictive. It is helping the economy get into better balance,” Williams said in the interview, which was conducted on Wednesday. “Monetary policy is in a good place.”

Fresh data out Wednesday showed price growth excluding food and energy slowed for the first time in six months in April, and another report showed retail sales stagnated last month, indicating high borrowing costs and mounting debt are making consumers more cautious.

Williams welcomed the report, which he said pointed to further progress in gradually getting inflation down to the Fed’s 2% target.

“My own forecast is inflation will be probably in the low twos by the end the year, maybe up to 2.5% for the year as a whole but moving closer to 2% next year,” he said.

In an April 15 interview with Bloomberg Television, Williams said he thinks the Fed will likely start lowering interest rates this year if inflation continues to gradually come down. He has repeatedly stressed the central bank will remain committed to its goal of 2% inflation. 

First Published: May 16 2024 | 11:10 PM IST

Source link