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Fed's Williams reiterates rate cut likely later this year

John Williams speaks at an event in New York

By Michael S. Derby

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams reiterated on Thursday that the next move for the U.S. central bank is likely to be a cut to its interest rate target.

"I do expect us to cut interest rates later this year," Williams said in an appearance in New York at the Citizens Budget Commission 92nd Annual Gala. "I think that makes sense with inflation coming down, the economy being in better balance, that we're going to move interest rates back to more normal levels," the official said, while adding "there's no sense of urgency to do that."

"I think we've got monetary policy in good place" and now is really about gaining confidence that inflation is cooling to the 2% target, Williams said.

Williams also said he does not see the economy creating conditions that would drive the Fed to hike its interest rate target again.

"Based on what I see now we don't need to tighten monetary policy further," Williams said. But he added, "obviously, if the outlook changes, if the economic conditions change pretty significantly, materially, you know, we'd have to, I'd have to rethink that."

Williams' remarks largely echoed those of a speech he gave on Long Island on Wednesday. The Fed is widely expected to cut what is now an interest rate target range of between 5.25% and 5.5% later this year, although strong economic activity and an uneven retreat in inflation pressures have cast down on when the policy easing might kick off.

Williams said in the appearance that the U.S. economy has been very strong as it bounces back from the coronavirus pandemic and that the current business cycle is quite different than ones seen in the past. He said the economy's resilience has been remarkable.

(Reporting by Michael S. Derby; Editing by Sandra Maler and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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