The South Asian Times

13 December 2019 06:43 AM

Current monetary policy may remain appropriate: US Fed Chair

By IANS

Washington, Nov 14: The current stance of the US' monetary policy is "likely to remain appropriate" as long as the economy stays on track, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said at a hearing held by the Joint Economic Committee of Congress.

"We will be monitoring the effects of our policy actions, along with other information bearing on the outlook, as we assess the appropriate path of the target range for the federal funds rate," Powell said on Wednesday before the committee, a panel with some members from both the US House of Representatives and Senate.

Noting that "policy is not on a preset course", Powell said that the Fed would respond accordingly "if developments emerge that cause a material reassessment of our outlook".

When asked if he anticipated maintaining the current Fed rate through 2020, the central bank chief responded: "I know I wouldn't say that at all," and then turned to his prepared speech and basically repeated the remarks above.

Powell's remarks came a day after the President Donald Trump renewed his criticism of the Fed's monetary policies, saying that the central bank's hesitation in lowering the interest rates impeded US economic growth and capped gains in the stock market.

The US economy expanded at an annual rate of 1.9 per cent in the third quarter of the year, slightly lower than the 2 per cent growth rate in the second quarter, according to the Commerce Department.

The Fed has already lowered rates three times since July, amid growing risks and uncertainties stemming from trade tensions, weakness in global growth and muted inflation pressures. These policy adjustments put the current federal funds rate target range at 1.5 to 1.75 per cent.

Despite an overall favourable baseline for the US economy, the central bank chief pointed out several "noteworthy risks" to the economic outlook, including sluggish growth abroad, trade developments and persistent below-target inflation.

 

Update: 14 Nov, 2019

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