Powell Says 'My Answer Would Be No' If Trump Tried to Fire Him
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank is “carefully monitoring” downside risks to U.S. growth and “will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion,” reiterating concerns last week that cemented expectations for an interest-rate cut later this month.
“Uncertainties about this outlook have increased, however, particularly regarding trade developments and global growth,” Powell told a dinner audience at the Bank of France in Paris on Tuesday, referring to the Fed’s baseline scenario for growth to “remain solid.” Federal Open Market Committee participants “have also raised concerns about a more prolonged shortfall in inflation below our 2 per cent target,” he said.
Powell’s remarks closely resembled his July 10-11 testimony to U.S. lawmakers and continue to support the case to lower rates when the Fed meets in two weeks amid business uncertainties stemming from President Donald Trump’s trade policies and slower global growth.
The event in Paris celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Bretton Woods conference that led to the creation of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and Powell spoke broadly about the importance of international linkages among economies and their common challenges. He specifically focused on low rates of inflation and low interest rates that are likely to hit zero again the next time central banks need to stimulate their economies.
“This proximity to the lower bound poses new complications for central banks and calls for new ideas,” Powell said, suggesting that central banks should continue to look beyond unconventional tools, such as bond buying and forward guidance, that they used in the last crisis. “We must continue to assess additional strategies and tools to bolster our economies and meet our inflation and employment mandates.”