By Elias Glenn and Lindsay Dunsmuir
BEIJING (Reuters) – A raft of global risks that could adversely affect the United States remains on the horizon and requires close monitoring, Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan said on Tuesday.
Kaplan, along with several other Fed policymakers, has urged renewed caution in trying to lift rates again since the U.S. central bank raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time in almost a decade last December.
“I am closely monitoring how slowing growth, high levels of overcapacity and high levels of debt to GDP in major economies outside the U.S. might be impacting economic conditions in the U.S.,” Kaplan said at an event in Beijing.
In his second appearance within a week, Kaplan, a centrist at the U.S. central bank, repeated that he continues to back tightening monetary policy in a gradual and patient manner.
Chief among his concerns is sluggish U.S. growth exacerbated by a changing world in which economies are more globally interconnected.
“It’s going to take many years and maybe decades for China to manage through overcapacity and high levels of debt to GDP,” Kaplan added. “I think sudden jarring traumas … may make that adjustment more challenging.”
“We’ve got to be aware of our actions and the challenges that can bring to (China’s) adjustment process,” he said, adding that the strong dollar in January and February had a destabilizing effect on China.
The Dallas Fed chief, who is not a voting member on Fed policy this year but participates fully in deliberations, also said he would continue to monitor and assess the implications of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
While the so-called Brexit vote has had little initial impact on the U.S. economy, Kaplan said it would take time before its ultimate effects became clear.
Kaplan’s comments make him the second policymaker this week to strike a modestly downbeat note on the Fed’s ability to raise rates soon, but he added he was hesitant about negative interest rates due to the detrimental impact they would have on the health of financial institutions.
On Monday New York Fed President William Dudley, a permanent voter on the Fed’s rate-setting committee, said that while it was “premature” to rule out a rate increase this year, negative economic shocks were more likely than positive ones.
Kaplan said he was looking for a “healthy margin above” 80,000 to 125,000 new jobs each month to give confidence of removing slack from the U.S. economy, adding that he needed more information to see how slower GDP growth reconciles with strong job growth.
“We need to be patient and cautious in removing accommodation in light of global risks and imbalances,” Kaplan said.
Investors, who have curbed bets for the Fed to raise rates again in 2016, see a one in three chance it will raise rates at its December meeting, according to the CME Group.
The Fed still projects two more rate rises by the end of the year but has been stymied since December by global uncertainty and periodically disappointing U.S. economic data.
The Fed’s next policy meeting is on Sept. 20 and 21.
(Reporting by Elias Glenn and Lindsay Dunsmuir; Writing by Sue-Lin Wong; Editing by Leslie Adler)