February 13, 2019 / 1:12 AM / 5 months ago

Fed's George says she backed pausing rate hikes in order to assess impact

(Reuters) - Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George on Tuesday said she supported a pause in interest rate increases so that the Fed could assess how much its past hikes have slowed the economy.

“Let’s step back and see what happens,” George told an audience in Kansas City, describing her support for the U.S. central bank’s move last month to signal it was not preparing more rate increases for now.

George, who is a voter this year on the Fed’s interest rate policy decisions, was until recently an outspoken advocate for tighter monetary policy. But last month she voted in favor of the Fed’s policy statement that scrapped longstanding language pointing to the need for further rate increases.

On Tuesday, George said inflation pressures did not appear very strong while there were concerns about the strength of the global economy, echoing the explanation of the Fed’s decision given last month by its chairman, Jerome Powell.

Reporting by Jason Lange in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler

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