(Reuters) - Market expectations that U.S. interest rates will start to lift off sometime in mid-2015 are reasonable, New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said on Thursday.
Dudley, answering questions at a luncheon hosted by the United Arab Emirates central bank in Abu Dhabi, also said recent U.S. non-farm payrolls data had been very consistent with previous releases, and had not changed his policy outlook in any meaningful way.
"What I can tell you is that we are making progress toward our objectives but there is considerable further progress still to go," he said. "I think the market expectations that expect us to lift off sometime around the middle or somewhat later next year are reasonable expectations.”
Dudley said, however, that he could not give the likely timing for when the Fed would start raising interest rates, as it would depend on how the U.S. economy was evolving and how financial markets were reacting.
"No, I cannot give you more specifics and the long answer is: because I do not know. It really depends on how the economy evolves and how we progress toward our objectives of maximum sustainable employment in the context of price stability.”
The government announced last Friday that U.S. employers added 214,000 new jobs to their payrolls last month, missing economists' forecasts for 231,000.
“I think that the recent payroll employment data were very consistent with the payroll data we have gotten for some time. We have been having payroll gains that were somewhere north of 200,000 per month and that was another report like that, with some upward revision to prior months," Dudley said.
"It was probably a little stronger report when you also include what was in the report in terms of the household employment survey. The household employment survey also showed large gains in employment and showed the leveling off of the labor force participation."
He added, "So I thought it was a decent report consistent with recent reports. It did not really change my view of the outlook for the U.S. economy in any meaningful way.”
In his luncheon speech earlier, Dudley said hiking interest rates too early would pose "considerably greater" risks for the Federal Reserve than moving too late.