August 22, 2019 / 11:51 AM / 3 months ago

Fed's George supports keeping rates at current levels: interviews

FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board building on Constitution Avenue is pictured in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

(Reuters) - Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George said on Thursday that she would be happy to leave interest rates at current levels unless there are further signs the U.S. economy is changing direction.

“We’re at a sort of equilibrium right now and I’d be happy to leave rates here absent seeing either some weakness or some strengthening, some kind of upside risk that would cause me to think rates should be somewhere else,” George said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Central bank policymakers are meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo., at an annual conference, where they are wrestling with how trade tensions between the United States and China could affect the economy.

While markets overwhelmingly expect the Fed to follow up its first rate cut in a decade with more stimulus at its meeting next month, some policymakers disagree. George and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren dissented from the last rate cut.

George said she thinks the U.S. labor market remains strong, consumers remain confident, inflation-adjusted rates are near zero and the U.S. economy is poised to expand.

“My sense was we’ve added accommodation and it wasn’t required in my view,” George told CNBC in an interview also aired on Thursday.

Two-year Treasury yields US2YT=RR rose to nearly 1.60%, from about 1.57% earlier in the trading session.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru, Makini Brice and Doina Chiacu in Washington; Writing by Trevor Hunnicutt in Jackson Hole, Wyo.; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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