‘Plain English’ Powell Praises U.S. Economy After Rate Hike


The Fed also signaled that it may raise rates twice more in 2018, with Fed Chair Jerome Powell saying that the United States economy was in "great shape".

This report, released by Federal Reserve, includes the FOMC's projection for inflation and economic growth over the next 2 years and, more importantly, a breakdown of individual FOMC member's interest rate forecasts.

"I think we are far enough away now though that the risks are kind of balanced", he said.

He also announced that starting in January he'd take questions from the media after every meeting, though he cautioned that "having twice as many press conferences does not signal anything". The Fed chief now speaks to reporters after every other policy meeting.

The Fed now sees gross domestic product growing 2.8% this year, slightly higher than previously forecast, and dipping to 2.4% next year, unchanged from policymakers' March projections.

The Federal Reserve hiked America's benchmark interest rate a quarter point on Wednesday to 1.75 to 2 per cent, a move that will likely cause a slight increase in mortgage, credit card, auto and small business loan rates. The move reflects the economy's resilience, the job market's strength and inflation that's finally nearing the Fed's target level.

In a style that contrasted with his predecessor Janet Yellen's more professorial delivery, Powell began by offering what he called a "plain-English" summary of the economy.

A decade after the recession, the Fed has made progress on its objectives.

Jerome Powell, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, is scheduled to deliver his comments on the monetary policy in a press conference at 18:30 GMT. The Bank of Japan is set to leave its stimulus setting unchanged on Friday. Job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has declined.

"Economic activity has been rising at a solid rate", the FOMC said in its statement. In the longer run, it maintained the forecast for 1.8% growth. "He is someone who thinks the USA economy has a lot of room at the margin".

The nightmares that long haunted both hawks and doves have not come to pass, even as the Fed held interest rates near zero for years and snapped up some $3.5 trillion in bonds in an extraordinary effort to boost the recovery.

Policy makers kept their hiking path at three hikes for 2019 while trimming the 2020 outlook to one increase.

They see another three rate increases next year, a pace unchanged from their previous forecast. The unemployment rate in May was 3.8%, its lowest since 2000, while inflation was just below the Fed's 2% target.

Though rates are now roughly positive on an inflation-adjusted basis, the Fed still described its monetary policy as "accommodative", with gradual rate increases likely warranted as a sturdy economy enters a 10th straight year of growth.

"'You have fiscal policy pushing on the gas, and downside risks from trade disputes so they are continuing their gradual approach", said Julia Coronado, president of Macropolicy Perspectives LLC in NY.

The core PCE index, which excludes food and energy and is seen by officials as a better gauge of underlying price pressures, is forecast to reach 2 per cent this year and 2.1 per cent in 2019 and 2020.