July 11, 2016 / 3:06 PM / 3 years ago

Fed's George says U.S. interest rates are currently too low

Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George is pictured in the bank's boardroom in this handout photo courtesy of the Kansas City Federal Reserve. REUTERS/Kansas City Federal Reserve/Handout

(Reuters) - Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George on Monday said U.S. interest rates are too low and signaled she could be ready to restart her push for rate hikes within the Fed’s rate-setting committee.

“Keeping rates too low can create risks,” George told a management conference in Lake Ozark, Missouri.

George, who is a voting member of the Fed’s rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee this year, had dissented at the FOMC’s January, March and April meetings when policymakers held rates steady.

On those occasions, she was the lone policymaker advocating rate hikes. But in June she joined the other nine members of the FOMC in supporting steady rates.

On Monday, she said her decision not to dissent owed to an unsettling sharp slowdown in hiring during May and worries around Britain’s vote on its EU membership. But she also said subsequent jobs data showing a rebound in hiring in June was “welcome news,” and that Britain’s vote now appeared to be more a long-term rather than a short-term concern.

Reporting by Jason Lange in Washington Editing by W Simon and Andrea Ricci

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