Fed's Williams downplays divergence of views among policy-makers

VANCOUVER Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:29pm EDT

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Divergent views among policymakers at the Federal Reserve is "healthy," the president of the San Francisco Fed, John Williams, said on Friday, even as he downplayed the importance of the range in Fed official views on when the central bank's massive bond-buying program should end.

Williams said he fully supports Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's road map for ending the $85 billion a month program of bond buying by mid-2014, even though a few months ago Williams said he would want to bring the program to close by the end of the year.

Lower-than-expected inflation helped convince him to make that "small shift" in his policy view, Williams said, adding that exactly when the Fed ends the bond buying program is not as important as making sure the high unemployment rate comes down and undesirably low inflation rises back to the Fed's 2 percent target.

Minutes of the most recent meeting showed that about half of the Fed's 19 policymakers wanted quantitative easing to end this year.

Williams is not a voter on Fed policy-setting this year.

(Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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