Interest rates are in a good place, New York Fed leader Williams says

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John Williams, Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, speaks at an event in New York, November 6, 2019.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

Interest rates are at an appropriate level given the pace of economic growth, New York Fed President John Williams said Thursday.

In a speech two weeks after the central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate for the third time this year, Williams indicated that no further moves are likely if current conditions hold up.

“The adjustments to monetary policy we made this year were designed to balance maintaining a strong U.S. economy with slowing global growth, and provide insurance against ongoing and potential future risks,” he said in prepared remarks. “And that’s what they’ve done. The economy is in a good place, and monetary policy is as well.”

The “good place” phrase repeats language Fed Chairman Jerome Powell used after the Oct. 30 rate cut, which takes the Fed’s benchmark rate to a target range of 1.5%-1.75%. Fed officials indicated then that they are likely to pause for a while as they observe current conditions.

Williams said that while he’s comfortable with the current stance, central bank officials will continue to monitor data and adjust policy as needed.

“Of course, things can change. Data dependency remains our motto, and if there were a material change to this outlook, we would adjust monetary policy in support of our goals of maximum employment and price stability,” he said during the speech in San Francisco, a district where he was president before switching to the key New York position.

2019-11-14 17:04:00

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