Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Powell signals more hikes ahead if U.S. economy stays strong

Fed chair Jerome Powell’s highly anticipated speech: what to expect Fed chair Jerome Powell signals rate hikes ahead if U.S. economy stays strong
Kelvin Reese | 27 August, 2018, 11:12

The Treasury yield curve reached its flattest level since 2007 on Friday as comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell affirmed expectations that the USA central bank will continue raising rates.

But it also criticizes preferences cited by some Fed officials who have urged moving more slowly to raise interest rates, seeking more evidence of a rebound in inflation before doing so.

Elsewhere on currency markets the United States dollar were holding gains ahead of the annual Jackson Hole symposium of central bankers, where Fed boss Jerome Powell is due to speak later Friday.

The president previously upbraided Powell and the Fed via Twitter for raising rates while the economy is humming along. " This is good news, and we believe that this good news results in part from the ongoing normalization process, which has moved the stance of policy gradually closer to the FOMC's rough assessment of neutral as the expansion has continued".

"Expressions of angst about higher interest rates are not unique to this administration", she said in a separate interview with CNBC.

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Based on the futures market, investors are nearly certain Fed policymakers will raise the benchmark interest rate to a range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent at its next meeting in late September, which would be the highest interest rates in a decade but not high by historical standards.

ANALYST TAKE: "This year's meeting is more about market structure than current monetary policy and so prepare for a non-event", said Neil Wilson, chief markets analyst at Markets.com. "It's easier for them to do their job if they're given independence and they don't have people harping at them politically". In June, most Fed officials projected the natural rate of unemployment was between 4.1% and 4.7%. The economy is strong and the Fed must walk a tight line between not snuffing out growth and not allowing an overheated economy to produce runaway inflation.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 139.04 points, or 0.54pc, to 25,796.02.

The paper speaks to a central debate facing the Fed right now: how to set rates when inflation doesn't appear to be accelerating and the unemployment rate is falling to levels that economists expect should push up wages and prices. "But probably not that early, it's probably something like late this year, or next year". -China tariffs boosted the greenback and the annual Federal Reserve conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming began. Five of those rate hikes, including two this year, have occurred with Trump in the White House.

The Fed's overnight lending rate is now in a range of 1.75 per cent to 2.00 per cent. Under the Fed's rotating voting system for Fed regional bank presidents Bullard does not have a vote this year, but he participates in rate-setting discussions.

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