John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, said Sunday the presidential election wouldn’t prevent the central bank from raising interest rates later this year.
“We’ve proven over and over again that we can act in presidential election years,” Mr. Williams said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.”
He added, “We’ve done that before, we’ll do it again.”
Fed officials raised short-term interest rates in December after holding them near zero since late 2008. Officials are currently considering whether to raise rates further over the course of this year. Mr. Williams has said that he favors raising rates two or three times this year.
Some observers of the central bank have speculated that the looming presidential election could cause the central bank to refrain from any further moves to avoid stoking controversy in an already heated election.
Mr. Williams disputed that this would influence the Fed’s thinking.
“We’re about as apolitical as you can imagine,” Mr. Williams said. Any decision to raise rates, he said, “would be based on the data, based on our analysis.”
He described the decision on the next rate increase as striking a balance between two forces. On the one hand, an improving U.S. economy would warrant somewhat higher interest rates. But the economy is also beset by uncertainties, he said, particularly international risks from economic weakness in Europe and Asia, and that cautions against raising rates too quickly.
Fed’s Williams says presidential election wouldn’t prevent Fed from hiking rates
May 23, 2016 by 1 Comment