Fed's George says cannot say when rates should rise

KANSAS CITY, Mo., March 28 Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:58pm EDT

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KANSAS CITY, Mo., March 28 (Reuters) - A top Federal Reserve official who has often warned about the risks of keeping interest rates too low for too long said Friday that she cannot say when she would prefer to raise rates, or how fast she would like to raise them.

"I don't think it would be fair to say I have a date in mind or a path in mind," for the appropriate timing of the Fed's first rate increase, Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George told the Central Exchange. "We are in a place now where we have to be very careful and think about how we are beginning to withdraw stimulus."

She told reporters later that the Fed must complete the winding down of its bond-buying program before it can raise rates.

"The risk I see is being too low for too long," she said. (Reporting by Carey Gillam; Writing by Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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