Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell said he will hold a press conference after every Federal Open Market Committee meeting, beginning in January.
The purpose, Powell said, is to “explain our actions and answer your questions.” He stressed the move is “only about improving communications” and means nothing in terms of speeding up Fed actions.
The move was something that had been discussed, with experts saying the move will make each meeting “live.”
When asked at this press conference how the Fed will know when the fed funds rate is neutral — neither stimulating or restricting the economy — Powell said the Board will be guided by data. “We know we’re getting closer to neutral,” he said, but added, it’s hard to know exactly, since there are “always wide uncertainty bands” around data and where neutral lies.
Inflation, he said, is not expected to “take off or move quickly from these levels.”
“We've been very, very careful not to tighten too quickly,” Powell, said. “I think we've been patient. I think that patience has borne fruit, and I think it continues to. We had a lot of encouragement to go much faster, and I'm really glad we didn't, but at this time, continuing on that gradual pace continues to seem like the right thing. If we get a sense that the economy is reacting badly, then we'll certainly react to that.”
As for the yield curve flattening, Powell said, it's flattening because the Fed is raising short-term rates. There are reasons long-term rates aren't increasing, including term premiums, and movement of long-term rates may help "signal where neutral is."