Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said on Friday the central bank looked most likely to raise interest rates in June or September, although economic developments might warrant different timing for liftoff. “I don’t think there is an emphasis on June instead of September” Fischer told a monetary policy forum in New York. He added that judged by the views of Fed officials and investors “it seems those two months get the main weight of probability.”
At the same time, he said, “things could happen” that could change those assumptions. “We will make a decision and we will make it on the basis of evidence.” Fed Chair Janet Yellen this week began to prepare the ground for an interest-rate increase this year for the first time since 2006, without saying that a move was imminent. In testimony to Congress, she signaled that the central bank might drop its pledge to be “patient,” which would mean that rates could be raised at any meeting.
In an interview later with CNBC, Fischer said “there’s a pretty high probability that this is the year” the Fed will tighten. He said the Fed is “very close” to its goal for full employment, and that inflation should move higher as the impact of low oil prices dissipates.
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