San Francisco Federal Reserve bank president John Williams says interest rate rise "makes sense"

Jessica Morris
Follow Jessica
US interest rates are at a record low of near-zero (Source: Getty)

A top US central banker has said that a gradual increase in interest rates should be the "next step" if the country's economy continues to improve as expected.

"I do think it makes sense to gradually remove the policy of accommodation that helped get the economy to where we are," San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams told the Arizona Council on Economic Education.

Nevertheless Williams declined to say whether this meant he was leaning towards a December rate rise, saying he will wait and see what the data says about the strength of the US economy.

A bumper jobs report released earlier this week fuelled speculation that, after the Federal Reserve failed to raise rates from their record low of near-zero this month, an interest rate hike could come at its December 15-16 meeting.

Read more: Rate rise soon? Non-farm payroll smashes expectations

The US economy added added 271,000 jobs in October, around 90,000 more than expected.

Earlier this month US Fed Chair Janet Yellen told a congressional committee that a rate rise in December was a "live possibility".

Yellen said: "What the committee has been expecting is that the economy will continue to grow at a pace that is sufficient to generate further improvements in the labour market and to return inflation to our two per cent target over the medium term."

"If the incoming information supports that expectation then our statement indicates that December would be a live possibility."

Related articles