NEW YORK, Feb 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. economy has "quite a bit of momentum," making it "extraordinarily premature" to even talk about the possibility of using negative rates to stimulate the economy, an influential Federal Reserve official said on Friday.
"To me, that's not something that should be part of the conversation right now," New York Fed President William Dudley told reporters at a press conference. Fed Chair Janet Yellen was repeatedly asked about the possibility of negative rates in her two days of Congressional testimony this week, fueling speculation over the degree to which it is a tool that the Fed is actively considering.
Dudley also said that the Fed will take financial conditions into account in its monetary policy decisions, adding that the important thing to assess is how much of the downturn in markets is based on deterioration of economic fundamentals and how much simply a change in sentiment, which may be shorter-lived. (Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; writing; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)