By Tom Fairless and Todd Buell

FRANKFURT--Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said on Friday he is leaning toward supporting a rate increase at the U.S. Federal Reserve's December policy meeting.

"Markets are currently [pricing in a] high probability of a December move, I'm leaning toward supporting that," Mr. Bullard said at a banking conference here. "The question now is about 2017."

Investors expect the Fed to increase interest rates next month for the first time in a year. They have begun pricing in a faster pace of rate increases since President-Elect Donald Trump pledged during campaigning for the Nov. 8 election to boost spending on infrastructure and cut taxes, which could stimulate the economy.

Mr. Bullard said Mr. Trump's expected policies, including measures aimed at encouraging companies to repatriate profit from overseas, could spur the U.S. economy by 2018 or 2019.

He said the rise in government bond yields and inflation expectations since Mr. Trump's victory was a "positive sign."

"The 10-year bond yield has come up since the election, that's been a sharp move, but the...yield is only about the level it was when the Fed moved in December of last year," Mr. Bullard said.

"So far so good, if we've raised inflation expectations back to more natural levels," he said.

Foreign investors have been given plenty of time to prepare for higher U.S. interest rates, Mr. Bullard said.

Still, the Fed official said U.S. policy rates probably wouldn't need to rise a large amount given slow economic growth and sluggish productivity gains.

"We've been saying the policy rate probably doesn't need to change too much" to suit the current economic environment, he said. He added that he doesn't see a bubble in the U.S. economy of the same magnitude as those of the late 1990s and mid 2000s.

Write to Tom Fairless at and Todd Buell at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 18, 2016 07:47 ET (12:47 GMT)

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