Fed's Williams Sees 'Huge Impact' on U.S. From China, Brazil

  • 'Real issue is the global financial and economic developments'
  • U.S. economy grew 1.4% in fourth quarter, exceeding estimate

Inflation Ticks Up Slowly, What's Next for Fed?

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said the global economy, particularly China and Brazil, was having a significant impact on measures that U.S. policy makers watch to determine interest rates.

The world’s largest economy is doing "quite well," Williams said Monday in an interview on CNBC, citing stable inflation and strong employment growth. The U.S. economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the fourth quarter, with a 1.4 percent increase. That compared with a prior Commerce Department estimate of 1 percent, figures issued Friday show.

John Williams

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

"The real issue is the global financial and economic developments. There’s uncertainty about what’s happening around the world and how that feeds back to the dollar and the U.S. economy," Williams, who doesn’t vote on monetary policy this year, told CNBC. "We understand that we’re in a global economy so what happens in Brazil or China has a huge impact on the U.S. in terms of our inflation and employment goals."

Asked about the message intended from the Fed, Williams responded: "I would say there’s broad agreement on the committee that our basic strategy, which is to gradually remove policy accommodation and raise interest rates over the next couple of years, has strong support. The real question is when we should raise rates, what pace we should raise rates. That’s going to be driven by the data so we’ll have to wait and see."

Williams is scheduled to deliver a speech on U.S. monetary policy and the global economic outlook at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday in Singapore.

— With assistance by Jeff Kearns

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