October 12, 2015 / 2:38 PM / 4 years ago

Fed's Evans sees 'wiggle room' on rate hike timing

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

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A top Federal Reserve official who has long wanted the U.S. central bank to wait until next year to raise rates signaled on Monday that he could be persuaded to support a rate hike this year, so long as the increases are gradual.

It is “way too early” to judge whether a rate hike could be warranted at the Fed’s December or even at its October meeting, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans told reporters after a speech here, saying that there will be plenty of economic data coming in before those meetings.

“I still think that the best choice is middle of 2016 until I see data that are stronger that lead me to have more confidence in inflation,” he said. The Fed could probably make an earlier start to rate hikes “without probably doing much adverse effect on my outlook,” he said, adding that he sees “wiggle room” on the timing.

Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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