Thursday, 21 February, 2019


Federal Reserve's Powell seeks to reassure markets

Federal Reserve's Powell seeks to reassure markets Federal Reserve's Powell seeks to reassure markets
Conrad Doyle | 05 January, 2019, 00:42

"We are always prepared to shift the stance of policy and to shift it significantly" if needed.

Trump has slammed Powell for rate hikes, meant to keep the economy from overheating, and last month polled advisers about whether he could fire the Fed chief, according to multiple reports.

U.S. employers hired the most workers in 10 months and wages accelerated at a robust pace in December, suggesting the economy would avoid a sharp slowdown. It marked the ninth time the Fed has raised interest rates since 2015. "Average hourly earnings moved up and that's quite welcome and also for me at this time does not raise concerns about too-high inflation", he said. Powell was asked by a panelist at the annual American Economics Association conference Friday morning, to which he answered swiftly, "No".

Mr Powell said that he did not believe the Fed's removal of stimulus by shrinking holdings of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities played a major role in the recent market turmoil.

Powell had been sitting next to former Federal Reserve chairmen Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke when he was asked about his impending meetings with the President regarding Fed policy, which the President has emphasized in the past as the number one problem with the economy. Powell also told the outlet that, even if he's asked, he will not resign.

Trump has criticized the Fed chief for raising rates, and Bloomberg News reported December 21 that the president had discussed firing Powell.

Although the USA economy appears strong, the central bank "is sensitive to the risks highlighted by investors and will be patient with its monetary policy in 2019", Powell reportedly said.

Despite that gloomy backdrop, the Fed has been close to achieving its inflation goal of 2 per cent. Price gains hovered right around there for much of 2018, though the Fed's preferred index has dipped to 1.8 per cent in November.

The unemployment rate ticked up by two tenths of a point to 3.9 per cent but that was mostly because more workers were joining the job hunt, according to the closely watched report.

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