New York Fed President William Dudley said Wednesday that June is still in play for the first increase in interest rates but said the bar is higher for such a quick move given recent softness in the data. In a question-and-answer webcast with Reuters, Dudley said much of the economic data, and not just the March unemployment report, has surprised to the downside in recent weeks and this has an impact on the Fed's timing. "Clearly, if the economy is growing slower and there is less pressure on the labor market and inflation is still well below the Fed's 2% objective, it would be reasonable to think that the timing of the Fed's first rate hike might be a little further off in time," he said. But he added that he could "imagine circumstances where a June rate hike could still be in play" if the data rebound in the next two months. "Obviously, it is a bigger hurdle because if you have a lot of weak data, you have to see sufficient data on the other side to make you sufficiently confident," he said.
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