Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank can be patient as it assesses risks to a U.S. economy with good momentum and will adjust policy quickly if needed, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
“With the muted inflation readings that we’ve seen, we will be patient as we watch to see how the economy evolves,” Powell said Friday on a panel with his predecessors Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke at the American Economic Assn.’s annual meeting in Atlanta.
“We will be prepared to adjust policy quickly and flexibly and to use all of our tools to support the economy should that be appropriate to keep the expansion on track,” he said, adding “there is no pre-set path for policy.”
U.S. stocks extended gains on his remarks.
Powell’s Fed raised interest rates four times last year and projections from its Dec. 19 meeting show officials expect two more hikes in 2019. Sliding equity prices, weakness abroad and mixed economic data at home have prompted calls for the Fed to put rates on hold, but the U.S. labor market remains red-hot. Data released earlier Friday showed U.S. employers added the most workers in 10 months as wage gains accelerated.
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