(Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said U.S. monetary policy is “in a good place” amid solid growth, stable prices and a strong labor market.
“I believe that monetary policy is in a good place and should continue to support sustained growth, a strong labor market, and inflation running close to our symmetric 2% objective,” Clarida said Thursday in prepared remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “If developments emerge that, in the future, trigger a material reassessment of our outlook, we will respond accordingly.”
Fed officials left interest rates unchanged at their final meeting of 2019 following three straight cuts, a pivot Clarida described as “well timed.” They also signaled policy would be on hold through 2020, keeping the central bank on the sidelines during a U.S. presidential election year. Investors see almost no chance of a rate cut in the next six months, according to pricing in federal funds futures contracts. Clarida’s remarks today suggest Fed officials see little need to change the benchmark lending rate anytime soon.
Minutes of the Dec. 10-11 meeting released Jan. 3 showed officials still see some downside risks to their outlook for continued growth and were prepared to move rates up or down if there was a “material” change in their forecasts. “There are some indications that headwinds to global growth may be beginning to abate,” Clarida said.
“The U.S. economy begins the year 2020 in a good place,” he said. “The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, inflation is close to our 2% objective, gross domestic product growth is solid.”
The release of the minutes last week coincided with news of a U.S. air strike that killed a top Iranian general.
Oil prices rose in anticipation of retaliation by Tehran but have since fallen back, reassured by the restraint shown so far by both sides. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Iran was “standing down” from the confrontation.
Clarida is leading the Fed’s review of monetary policy strategy, tools and communications policy. In December, Fed officials discussed feedback from their listening sessions with community and business leaders around the country. He said conclusions from the review will be shared with the public “later this year.”
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