McCreath: Fed's dovishness spooks markets
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said prices would rise this year as the pandemic recedes and Americans are able to go out and spend, but he played down the risk that this would spur unwanted inflation.
“We do expect that inflation will move up over the course of this year,” Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, citing pent-up demand, supply-chain bottlenecks and the comparison with very weak price pressures last year. “Our best view is that the effect on inflation will be neither particularly large nor persistent.”
Powell is appearing before the committee along with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen as part of Congressional oversight of the government’s response to the pandemic. Both policy makers are slated to testify again on Wednesday, to the Senate Banking Committee.
The economy is widely expected to surge in the coming months, thanks to more widespread vaccinations against COVID-19 and President Joe Biden’s US$1.9 trillion stimulus package. The program, which passed without a single Republican vote in Congress, included additional help for unemployed workers and US$1,400 checks for many Americans and came on top of more than US$3 trillion in fiscal support approved on a bipartisan basis last year.