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Fed's Williams says he would support 3 or 4 rate hikes in 2018

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said Feb. 23 he would support three or four rate hikes from the Federal Reserve Board in 2018, according to Reuters.

Williams told reporters after an event in Los Angeles that the first of those hikes should come in "the near future," Reuters reported. Williams is a voting member this year at the Federal Open Market Committee, which is expected to hike rates during its next meeting in March.

Williams, as he has done amid some turmoil in the markets this month, also sought to ease those who think the Fed may act aggressively to inflation data by hiking interest rates quickly.

During the event, he said although recent data showing inflation rising is positive, a handful of data points are not enough to have "fundamentally shifted" his view on monetary policy.

The economy, he said, is performing largely as Fed officials expect — with steady GDP growth, further tightening in the labor markets and weak inflation figures showing signs of picking up. Since the economy is on track with the Fed's expectations, he said, his views on monetary policy have not changed, and a diet of gradual interest rate increases is appropriate.

Monetary policy is a lengthy process and the Fed "can't be sitting there reacting to every data point," he said.

"I have not changed my view," he said. "I do not see a sea change in the economic outlook."