Fed governor wants 'cautious and gradual' approach to rate hikes

Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard on Tuesday called for a "cautious and gradual approach" to easing away from the central bank's emergency stimulus efforts, suggesting that a variety of factors could necessitate low interest rates for a long time.

In urging the Fed to move slowly just two weeks ahead of a Fed meeting expected to result in the first rate hike in nine years, Brainard again suggested that she has a different, and more pessimistic view of the economy's trajectory than does Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen.

Speaking at Stanford University, Brainard provided a number of reasons why this business cycle might feature a lower interest rate at a time when the economy is healthy, with no cyclical unemployment and inflation at the Fed's 2 percent target.

One reason is that slowing growth in China and elsewhere overseas has put upward pressure on the dollar. Another is that slowing U.S. population growth and falling labor force participation have lowered expectations for growth. A third is that investors could still feel stung by the financial crisis, meaning more demand for low-risk, low-yield assets.

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