Hurricanes may have a temporary effect on rate hike timing: Dudley

Dudley said that he didn’t think the storms would affect the balancesheet move. Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley said back-to-back hurricanes in the third quarter could temporarily influence the timing of the next interest-rate increase, although above trend growth does warrant continued gradual rate hikes.

With Texas just starting to recover from Hurricane Harvey and southern Florida bracing for Irma, Dudley told CNBC in an interview that “it’s possible they could have effect on the timing of short-term rate increases. But I think that’s probably further out anyway .”

The Fed is expected to announce the start of a gradual process to shrink its $4.5 trillion balance sheet at its Se ptember 19-20 meeting in Washington while keeping rates on hold amid a spate of disappointingly weak readings on inflation. US central bankers hiked in March and June, and in June forecast they would raise a third time this year to a range of 1.25 per cent to 1.5 per cent.

Dudley said that he didn’t think the storms would affect the balancesheet move, which he expects to happen “relatively soon,” and that a decision on when to raise rates again was a question for later in the year.

“It’s too soon to judge exactly the timing of when the next rate hike might occur, but I think the path is still clear that short-term rates are going to move gradually higher over time,” he said. While he was marking down his third-quarter growth forecast “a touch” and the storms would affect incoming economic data over the next few months, he was otherwise upbeat on the economy .

“I’m pretty optimistic the expan sion’s going to continue. I’m pretty confident it’s going to continue at an above-trend pace, and that’s why I think that as time passes, the Federal Reserve will continue to gradually remove monetary policy accommodation.”

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