John Williams in “whack-a-mole mode”

The first Federal Reserve official to speak in the wake of this week’s central bank monetary policy meeting said Friday the Fed should raise interest rates twice this year.

“We are getting closer and closer to the time to raise rates,” Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams told reporters following a hometown speech. “My own forecast would be to raise rates two times this year, if the economy performs as I expect.” He added he would like to see those initial increases at 25 basis points each.

As he has on many occasions, Mr. Williams cautioned that whatever happens with a policy that now has short-term rates pegged at near-zero levels will be driven by how the economy performs. And while he is upbeat about the outlook for growth and hiring, he said there are still reasons to be cautious about raising the cost of borrowing in the U.S. economy right now.

“My own view is there are still significant headwinds to this economy,” he told reporters.

In the text of remarks delivered Friday, Mr. Williams also said he was wary of acting before gathering more evidence that “inflation’s trajectory is on the desired path.

“Until I have more confidence that inflation will be moving back to 2%, I’ll continue to be in wait-and-see mode regarding raising interest rates,” he said.

He couldn´t have been clearer!