The president of the San Francisco Fed called Sunday for "a little more patience" before the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank increases interest rates. John Williams, who has previously said the Fed’s decision last week to hold off on the rate hike was “a close call,” told Fox News he thought the bank should wait for the economy to settle overseas and monitor local growth.
"We're trying to balance these various considerations, get the right decision, but I did support having a little more patience, collecting a little more data, getting a little better view of where we are and where the economy is going before initiating the first rate increase," Williams said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Fed announced Thursday that it would keep interest rates the same due to “the heightened uncertainty abroad,” as chairwoman Janet Yellen told reporters, a likely nod to the economic slowdown occurring in China. The central bank had been discussing raising the rates from the record near-zero lows it instituted in 2008 during the Great Recession. But the situation overseas, as well as the increasing value of the U.S. dollar, ultimately led the bank to leave the rates unchanged at its September meeting.
Williams told Fox News the global economic outlook created “significant headwinds in our forecast for growth and for pushing down inflation," which the Fed has said it wants to see at 2 percent.
Williams wasn’t the only Fed president speaking out on the decision. James Bullard of St. Louis told Reuters the bank hadn’t given a “satisfactory answer” for why it refused to raise the rates, given the 5.1 percent unemployment rate. Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, who sits on the Federal Open Market Committee and voted against keeping the rates low Thursday, had a similar position.
“U.S. economic conditions have improved quite significantly over the last six years, all things considered. It’s time to recognize the substantial progress that has been achieved and align rates accordingly,” Lacker said in a statement.
The committee could still implement a rate hike at its meetings later this year, scheduled for October and December.