Fed’s Powell emphasizes need for data, inflation on ‘bumpy path’

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell spoke at an economic forum event at Stanford University on Wednesday, characterizing inflation’s descent to the Fed’s 2% target as traveling on a “sometimes bumpy path.”

Yahoo Finance Fed Reporter Jennifer Schonberger breaks down Powell’s comments on recent inflation data and the outlook for 2024 interest rate cuts, while he also addressed concerns on the Fed’s monetary policy during an election year.

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Editor’s note: This article was written by Luke Carberry Mogan.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Let’s turn now to the macro economy. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaking on the economy and the possible path of rate cuts earlier this afternoon. Our Jennifer Schonberger here with the details. Hi, Jen.

JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: Hi, Julie. Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell doubling down on his belief that the outlook for inflation hasn’t changed materially while reiterating that he expects to lower rates at “some point this year.”

JEROME POWELL: These recent data do not, however, materially change the overall picture which continues to be one of solid growth, a strong, but rebalancing labor market, and inflation moving down toward 2% on a sometimes bumpy path.

JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: This is the second time that Powell has offered assurances on the outlook for inflation saying it hasn’t materially changed. After we got hotter readings on inflation in the first couple months of this year, still he says right now, it’s quote, “too soon to determine whether those hot readings on inflation are just a bump.” And reiterated that officials don’t expect to lower rates until they gain greater confidence that inflation is indeed dropping decisively back towards their 2% target. Now, meanwhile Powell went out of his way to make clear that the Fed’s policy decisions are not swayed by elections.

JEROME POWELL: Fed policymakers serve long terms that are not synchronized with election cycles. Our decisions are not subject to reversal by other parts of the government other than through legislation. This independence both enables and requires us to make our policy decisions without consideration of short-term political matters.

JENNIFER SCHONBERGER: Now, Powell did note to an audience during Q&A that if there were concerns about the Fed tailoring policy decisions for elections, that they should look at prior transcripts of FOMC policy meetings. And guys, I did just that. I went back to the 2016 November policy meeting when Trump was running against Clinton. Very few mentions of the election.

Only two members of the Fed actually brought it up, including at the time New York Fed President Bill Dudley. And they only brought it up in relation to how the election could impact the economy. Back to you.

JULIE HYMAN: Well, I imagine the subtext is not captured in those transcripts. But it was probably present.


JULIE HYMAN: All right. Thanks so much, our Jennifer Schonberger.

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