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May 28, 2015

Fed's Williams expects above trend U.S. growth rest of the year

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - San Francisco Fed President John Williams said on Thursday he expects above-trend economic growth in the United States for the rest of the year after a weak first quarter.

Williams told reporters in Singapore that the weak economic growth in the first quarter was an "anomaly" affected by factors such as the weather.

The U.S. economy should grow about 2 percent and unemployment should drift down below 5 percent this year, Williams said, but cautioned that more economic data needs to be collected before a decision on interest rates is made.

Williams is a voter this year on the Fed's policy panel and his views are seen as closely aligned with Chair Janet Yellen.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a symposium on Asian banking and finance co-hosted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

He said earlier in the day that the central bank is likely to start raising interest rates later this year, and will move them to more normal levels over the next few years.

(Reporting by Kitano Mayasuki and Saeed Azhar; Editing by Kim Coghill)