U.S. Markets

Fed's Williams: a 'bit' more data could convince on rate hike

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A top Federal Reserve official said on Monday that even “a little bit” more economic data could convince him to support a rate hike at the U.S. central bank’s next meeting, in October.

“We could make a decision to raise rates or not” in October,

San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams told reporters after a giving a speech at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. “We’ll have data, we’ll have a debate,” he said, adding that with the September decision to hold off on a rate hike having been such a close call, “it doesn’t take a lot to push you to a different conclusion.”

Whether the Fed begins raising rates in October or December, though, is not that big of a concern, he said. The important thing is to begin raising rates; once the Fed does so, Williams said, investors will have a better idea of what data will drive further rate hike decisions.

Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Chris Reese