Monday, 18 March, 2019


Powell Pledges Flexible Fed Policy, Won't Quit If Trump Asks Him

Powell Pledges Flexible Fed Policy, Won't Quit If Trump Asks Him Powell Pledges Flexible Fed Policy, Won't Quit If Trump Asks Him
Conrad Doyle | 05 January, 2019, 07:12

United States and global stock markets have tumbled in recent weeks and 2018 was Wall Street's worst year since the global financial crisis amid worries about the slowing world economy, trade tensions and rising interest rates.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell pledged to be patient with any future interest-rate hikes, allaying Wall Street concerns that the central bank will snuff out the USA economic expansion and pledging to stay even if President Donald Trump asks him to resign.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported the USA added 312,000 jobs in December, much above analyst expectations.

At the conference on Friday, Mr Powell said he has not spoken directly to Mr Trump and would not resign if asked.

The data come amid debate on whether the US Federal Reserve has been too aggressive in hiking interest rates and should back off in 2019. "With the muted inflation readings we have seen coming in, we will be patient as we watch to see how the economy evolves".

Mr Trump named Mr Powell to the helm of the Fed at the start of the year but has been a frequent and vocal critic, blaming Mr Powell and the Fed for raising rates which he says pose a threat to his economic agenda - an unprecedented public berating that breaks with recent norms.

"Markets are expressing concerns about global growth in particular and trade negotiations", Powell said at an event in Atlanta. "Can we wait?", Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester said in an interview with Reuters.

He also added that the Fed was prepared to adjust its approach to interest rate hikes should that policy appear to cause problems with the economy.

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. As well it should have, says Lynch, who expects a "U.S".

Powell called the employment figures a "very strong report" and showed no concern about the advance in wages.

"The markets are pricing in downside risks ... and they are obviously well ahead of the data, particularly if you look at this morning's labor market data", Powell said.

He added: "We're listening with sensitivity to the message that markets are sending and we're going to be taking those downside risks into account as we make policy going forward".

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