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.
The Fed’s policymakers will likely frustrate anyone who is hoping for a clear signal about what they may do next. The central bank may prefer instead to keep its options open, economists say.
The Fed has already lowered rates twice this year, in July and September, not because officials forecast a steep downturn but because the risks of such a slump have mounted.
The Federal Reserve finds itself in an unusually delicate spot as it considers how much more to try to stimulate an economy that’s still growing and adding jobs but also appears vulnerable.
The Federal Reserve cut its key benchmark interest rate while saying it’s prepared to continue doing what it deems necessary to sustain the U.S. economic expansion.
Several factors will influence the Fed’s decisions in the coming months on whether it needs to keep reducing borrowing rates to try to help sustain the U.S. economic expansion now in its 11th year.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell had barely finished speaking to central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, before President Donald Trump escalated his attacks on the Fed, which he has repeatedly accused of keeping rates too high.
The rate reduction was the first since December 2008, when the Fed dropped its benchmark effectively to zero as it battled recession and financial crisis.
Under Chairman Jerome Powell, the Fed has faced pressure to ease credit since it raised its key rate in December for the fourth time in 2018 and hinted that additional rate increases were likely this year.
A Senate bill addressing subprime lending, which had a 69-page strip-and-insert amendment released the night before passing out of committee, is headed to the House.
With pressures on the U.S. economy rising, the Federal Reserve has been signaling that it’s in no hurry to resume raising rates after having done so four times in 2018.