Powell Says Fed Will Sustain Expansion, Reinforcing Rate-Cut Bet
Bloomberg – Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the most likely outlook for the U.S. and world economy is continued moderate growth, but the central bank was monitoring “significant risks.”
“As we move forward, we’re going to continue to watch all of these factors, and all the geopolitical things that are happening, and we’re going to continue to act as appropriate to sustain this expansion,” Powell said Friday in Zurich. “Our main expectation is not at all that there will be a recession” either in the U.S. or the global economy, he added.
Powell’s remarks did little to change investors’ expectations for an interest-rate cut when U.S. central bankers gather in Washington Sept. 17-18. Those expectations remained in place after the U.S. Labor Department reported employers added 130,000 new jobs in August, somewhat undershooting economists’ estimates.
U.S. stocks remained higher and Treasuries were mixed as Powell spoke, with the S&P 500 adding to a second straight weekly gain.
Powell said the labor market was in quite a strong position and described the latest jobs data, released earlier on Friday, as “consistent” with that picture.
For months, Powell and his Fed colleagues have warned that trade tensions and slower global growth represented a mounting set of risks for the U.S. economy. To guard against those risks and to boost below-target inflation, the Fed cut rates by a quarter point in July in what Powell called a “mid-cycle adjustment” and “not the beginning of a long series of rate cuts.”
In recent weeks, however, evidence has grown that President Donald Trump’s ongoing trade disputes are causing not only uncertainty, but real damage to the U.S. economy.
Powell continued to characterize the economy in mostly positive terms, saying that it is in a “good place” with the caveat that uncertainty around trade policy, as well as slowing global growth and persistently low inflation, posed threats to the outlook.