Fed`s Williams Says Rate Cuts Don`t Appear Imminent for Now
Friday, April 12, 2024       06:09 WIB

Reuters - Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams said on Thursday that while the U.S. central bank has made considerable progress in lowering inflation, it does not yet need to move to an easier monetary policy setting amid recently uneven movements in price pressures.
Monetary policy is currently in a "good place" and "there's no clear need to adjust monetary policy in the very near term" given where the economy now stands, Williams said of the prospect for rate cuts in comments to reporters after a speech given before the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York 2024 Member Symposium, in New York.
In his formal remarks, Williams said despite a lot of progress to bring inflation back toward the Fed's 2% target "the outlook ahead is uncertain, and we will need to remain data-dependent." Williams noted "I will remain focused on the data, the economic outlook, and the risks as we evaluate the appropriate path for monetary policy to best achieve our goals."
The New York Fed leader spoke a day after the release of consumer level inflation data for March that was unexpectedly strong, which cast further doubt on the Fed's current forecast of rate cuts at some point later this year. The unfavorable price pressure data comes as other reports have also pointed to sturdier inflation over the start of the year, which challenges the Fed's most recent projections that penciled in three rate cuts this year.
Some Fed officials like Governor Michelle Bowman have even broached the possibility of raising rates again if there are more setbacks on inflation. However, Williams said in his comments to reporters that a move higher is unlikely in what is now a 5.25% to 5.5% federal funds rate target range.
"Of course, there are definitely circumstances that we would need higher interest rates, but that's not my base case," Williams said.
In his formal remarks, the bank president said he expects inflation pressures to ease to between 2.25% and 2.5% this year before falling back to the target of 2% next year, while warning "there will likely be bumps along the way, as we've seen in some recent inflation readings."
He noted to reporters that recent inflation setbacks were nothing central bankers have been surprised by, and that if there have been surprises it is how fast price pressures eased last year.
Williams also said he expects the economy to grow by 2% this year and for the unemployment rate to rise modestly to 4%, before ebbing again next year.
Williams said he expects some easing in rental inflation and that commercial real estate is an area of concern, noting it will take time to resolve issues in that sector.
Bank reserve levels are still high, he said, and brewing central bank plans to slow the pace of the effort contracting the size of the balance sheet does not mean ending the process.

Sumber : Reuters