July 12, 2017 / 7:36 PM / 14 days ago

Current U.S. rates seen low to combat next downturn - Fed's George

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FILE PHOTO - Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George is pictured in the bank's boardroom in this handout photo courtesy of the Kansas City Federal Reserve. Courtesy Kansas City Federal Reserve/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Current U.S. short-term interest rates might be too low for the Federal Reserve to address the next economic downturn, even after four rate increases since December 2015, Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George said on Wednesday.

"Right now it doesn't give you a lot of room," she said during a question-and-answer session after a speech delivered at a Kansas City Fed economic forum in Denver, Colorado.

The Fed had cut the federal funds rate by as much as 3 percentage points to counter previous recessions, according to George, who is not a voting member of the U.S. central bank's policy-setting committee in 2017.

The Fed last raised key overnight borrowing costs in June by a quarter point to a range of 1.00-1.25 percent.

Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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