US Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer has said it is "misleading" to place so much importance on the Fed's first interest rate hike, since the process of returning to a more normal level will take a few years.
Fischer, speaking in Israel said that while markets largely expect the first rate hike in September, it will be determined by data and not by date.
"If the [US] economy is growing very, very slowly we will wait. If the economy is growing faster we will do it quicker," he said in a speech.
"What we are thinking about is raising the interest rate from zero, which is an ultra expansionary monetary policy to a quarter percent, which is an extremely expansionary monetary policy. This will be a gradual process," he said.
Fischer noted that the Federal Reserve board expects the interest rate will reach 3.25 to 4 percent by 2017-2018.