The Fed also said it will likely begin slowing the pace of its monthly bond purchases “soon” if the economy keeps improving. The bond purchases have been intended to lower longer-term loan rates to encourage borrowing and spending.
In a speech being given virtually to an annual gathering of central bankers, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell stressed that the beginning of tapering does not signal any plan to start raising the Fed’s benchmark short-term rate.
The Federal Reserve is edging toward an announcement that it will begin paring the pace of its Treasury and mortgage bond buying, which now amounts to $120 billion a month.
Federal Reserve official James Bullard’s comments echo other recent calls from inside and outside the Fed that the central bank should start dialing back its ultra-low interest rate policies.
The discussions, revealed in the minutes of the Fed’s April meeting released Wednesday, marked the first time the central bank has even hinted that the time could be approaching to consider reducing the Fed’s $120 billion monthly bond purchases.
The Federal Reserve foresees the economy accelerating quickly this year yet still expects to keep its benchmark interest rate pinned near zero through 2023, despite concerns in financial markets about potentially higher inflation.
The speed at which the yield on the 10-year Treasury has climbed has forced investors to re-examine how they value stocks, bonds and every other investment. And the immediate verdict has been to sell them at lower prices.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell suggested Thursday that inflation will pick up in the coming months but the rise would likely prove temporary and not enough for the Fed to alter its record-low interest rate policies.
Banks have less than a year before the Fed has indicated it will stop allowing them to enter into new contracts pegged to LIBOR, a bedrock of the financial system being phased out by global policy makers.
Speaking at a news conference, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell made clear his belief that the economy will struggle in the coming weeks and months, until widespread vaccinations and government rescue aid eventually fuel a sustained rebound.
Behind the Fed’s new thinking is an ailing economy in the grip of a viral pandemic and a stubbornly low inflation rate that has long defied the Fed’s efforts to raise it.
Chairman Jerome Powell stressed the Fed’s commitment to ultra-low borrowing rates for the foreseeable future. “We’re not thinking about raising rates,” he said. “We’re not even thinking about thinking about raising rates.”
The central bank said the effects of the outbreak will weigh on economic activity in the near term and pose risks to the economic outlook.
In question is how much effect rate cuts will actually have amid a health emergency that threatens to reduce both supply and demand in the economy.
The Federal Reserve sketched a mostly positive picture of the U.S. economy after its latest policy meeting. It also repeated its pledge to “monitor” the world economy, which may be held back in the coming months by China’s viral outbreak.
In a sign of the Fed’s confidence about the economy, its latest policy statement dropped a phrase it had previously used that referred to “uncertainties” surrounding the economic outlook.
Persistently low inflation and steady if sluggish economic growth have led many Fed officials to rethink their view of the so-called “neutral rate.” This is the point at which the Fed’s key rate is believed to neither accelerate economic growth nor restrain it.
President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that his meeting with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was “very good and cordial.”
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell expressed optimism about the prospects for the U.S. economy and said he expects it will grow at a solid pace, though it still faces risks from slower growth overseas and trade tensions.
A statement the Fed released after its latest policy meeting removed a key phrase that it has used since June to indicate a future rate cut is likely.