11:39 AM » Fed's Williams sees no hint at earlier move
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - There was no suggestion from the Federal Reserve last week that the central bank will pull the trigger to hike interest rates sooner than previously believed, said San Francisco Federal Reserve President John Williams on Monday. Investors took new Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen's comments that the first rate hike might come six months after the end of bond-buying as a revised timetable. But in an interview with the Washington Post, Williams pushed back on that view. "Market perceptions are what they are. But I really don't see anything of what we said as suggesting that we're going to tighten monetary policy sooner rather than previously," Williams said. Markets also took a hawkish signal from the central bank's "dot plot" which showed officials expect slighty higher interest rates at the end of 2016. Williams said this was also not a policy signal but simply a reaction to recent stronger-than-expected unemployment reports. "But that's not a shift in monetary policy. That's just a reflection that the economy has gotten a little bit better and interest rates might be just a little higher than people thought before," he said. Williams is not a voting member of the committee but is seen as a close ally of Yellen as they worked together at the San Franciso regional Fed before Yellen returned to Washington.