SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – As the U.S. job market improves, the risk is receding that an unexpected setback could derail the recovery once the Federal Reserve raises interest rates, San Francisco Fed President John Williams told Reuters.
Concern that it could be forced to retreat to near-zero interest rates, where the Fed has little room to maneuver, if it pulled the trigger too soon has been a significant reason the Fed has kept rates pinned to the floor well into the recovery. With that less of a threat, policymakers can now focus on charting an appropriate rate path and worry less about sliding back to zero, Williams said in an interview late on Friday, expressing a view that appears to have taken root more broadly at the central bank.
SAN FRANCISCO, April 9 (Reuters) – Pacific Gas & Electric
Corp must pay a record $1.6 billion in penalties
stemming from a natural gas pipeline explosion in 2010 that
killed eight people near San Francisco, California’s chief
utility regulator ordered on Thursday.
The penalty levied for the deadly rupture in San Bruno,
California, marks the largest ever imposed by the five-member
state Public Utilities Commission, dwarfing a $38 million fine
against PG&E for a 2008 natural gas explosion near Sacramento,
according to the agency.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California’s chief utility regulator on Thursday ordered Pacific Gas & Electric Corp to pay a record $1.6 billion in fines and other penalties stemming from its deadly 2010 San Bruno natural gas pipeline rupture and fire near San Francisco.
The sum marks the largest penalty ever imposed by the five-member California Public Utilities Commission, dwarfing a $38 million fine against PG&E for a 2008 natural gas explosion in Rancho Cordova, California, according to the agency.
By Ann Saphir
BISMARCK, N.D. (Reuters) – Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota on Tuesday laid out a case for waiting until the second half of 2016 to start raising interest rates, and to then raise them gradually to just 2 percent by the end of 2017.
It was the first time the dovish policymaker detailed his preferred path for “late and slow” rate hikes. His remarks afterwards to reporters suggest he is increasingly worried that market expectations for nearer-term rate rises, fueled by comments from many of Kocherlakota’s Fed colleagues, could knock the wind out of the economic recovery.
SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve may be warranted later this year, with a gradual path expected to follow, although a downturn in core inflation or wage growth could force it to hold off, the central bank’s chief said on Friday.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that after the first rate increase a further, gradual tightening in monetary policy will likely be warranted. If incoming data fails to support the Fed’s economic forecast, the path of policy will be adjusted, she said.
By Ann Saphir
(Reuters) – Last year’s unusually harsh U.S. winter probably had some transitory effects on economic activity, but the “folk wisdom” that it was primarily to blame for the slump in early 2014 is suspect, a pair of researchers at the Chicago Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.
The theme of harsh weather holding back economic growth is back again this year, with many states registering even colder temperatures than last winter.
SAN FRANCISCO/ATLANTA, March 19 (Reuters) – The Federal
Reserve should err on the side of looser policy, a leading dove
said on Thursday, a day after Fed officials dramatically cut
their forecasts for the economy’s growth, inflation and rate
hikes at the U.S. central bank’s policy meeting.
Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said in a research paper
there was a case for keeping interest rates at zero until at
least 2016, arguing that the risks of a premature rate hike may
be rising if the economy is in fact weakening.
By Ann Saphir
(Reuters) – The Federal Reserve expects both labor markets and inflation to improve, but those projections are so uncertain that the U.S. central bank should err on the side of looser, not tighter, policy, a top Fed official said on Thursday.
“In this paper, we demonstrate that the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates implies that the central bank should adopt a looser policy when there is uncertainty,” Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said in a draft of a paper for a Brookings Institution conference on Thursday and Friday. “In the current context this result implies that a delayed liftoff is optimal.”
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve’s back-pedaling on how aggressively it plans to raise interest rates acknowledges that the more dovish financial markets were right all along: turns out, the soaring dollar has stalled its policy-tightening plan.
The U.S. central bank’s far more modest inflation predictions, released on Wednesday, suggest that the strong currency and sagging oil prices are spooking policymakers more than they have let on. It sets the stage for later rate hikes than they expected, but which many investors have long anticipated.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Shipping companies and terminal operators clinched a tentative deal with the dockworkers union on Friday, settling a labor dispute that led to months of cargo backups at 29 U.S. West Coast ports and snarled trans-Pacific maritime trade with Asia.
The deal, confirmed by a source close to the situation, was reached after the U.S. labor secretary arrived in San Francisco this week to help broker negotiations that had dragged on for nine months between the shippers and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.