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March 26, 2014

A Yellen ally at the Fed thinks markets should calm down about rate hikes

“The Federal Reserve rattled Wall Street last week when it seemed to suggest that it could begin raising a key short-term interest rate earlier than investors expected. Wonkblog sat down with San Francisco President John Williams for an exclusive hour-long interview on his outlook for policy and the economy over the next few years.

“Williams is considered a bellwether among the central bank’s top officials and worked closely under Fed Chair Janet Yellen when she headed the San Francisco reserve bank. He still believes the first rate hike should not come until the second half of 2015 but acknowledged that a rapidly falling unemployment rate has hastened the timeline for subsequent increases. When will rates return to what the Fed considers a normal level of 4 percent? His answer may surprise you.

“The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

“Q. Let’s start with last week’s Fed meeting and the press conference that followed. Chair Yellen seemed to suggest that the first rate hike could come six months after QE ends. Is that a plausible assumption or are markets moving this forward too quickly?”

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Read full Washington Post article here.

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