Fed's Evans sees high hurdle to April rate hike; June possible: CNBC

Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans speaks at the Chicago Banking Symposium in Chicago, Illinois, United States, June 3, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

(Reuters) - There is a high hurdle to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates in April given low inflation, though the U.S. central bank could move in June if the labor market continues to improve, a top Fed official said on Wednesday.

“Having confidence that inflation is going to sustainably be moving up to our 2 percent inflation target ... that hurdle is pretty high,” Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, a dovish central banker, said on CNBC. “I’d be surprised if we met that condition ... by April.”

“I think moving in June would be on the basis of further improvements in the labor market like what we had,” including falling unemployment and more participation, he said.

“Further movement like that would be good reason to further adjust - gradually - this rate. I just don’t think we want to get ahead of ourselves” given low inflation in Europe and elsewhere, said Evans, who repeated he expects two rate hikes this year.

Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama