Powell guarded in press conference, should calm markets

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In his first press conference as chair following a Federal Open Market Committee Jerome Powell stressed that “one decision” was made at the meeting: raising rates 25 basis points to a 1.5% to 1.75% target range.

Appearing calm and in control, Powell said there are no signs inflation is about to accelerate, and with the economic outlook improving, accommodation can be removed gradually.

Several times, when asked about the Summary of Economic Projections, Powell repeated the mantra, adding that the numbers in the SEP are individual projections that can change over time.

He did, however, address the projection for 3.40% fed funds rate target in 2020, which is above the median. He noted, such projections three years out are “highly uncertain.”

A recession is not in the offing, he suggested, responding to a question about the possibility of the yield curve inverting. Powell said, in the past, often an inverted yield curve suggested “inflation was out of control,” which, he noted, is “not the situation we’re in.”

While he appears to be in favor of more press conference after FOMC meetings, Powell said, “it’s something I’ll be thinking about.

The FOMC, he acknowledged, did discuss tariffs during its meeting.

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Monetary policy Jerome Powell Federal Reserve FOMC