As if markets needed any more persuading that the Federal Reserve is about to raise rates, the likely next Fed chief provided a little more ammunition.
During his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, Jerome Powell did not commit definitively to a December rate hike, but strongly hinted that the likelihood is growing. In doing so, he also indicated that markets can expect more of the same from Fed leadership, even though there will be a new person in the chair position.
“The case for raising interest rates at our next meeting is coming together,” the current Fed governor told the Senate Banking Committee. “I think the conditions are supportive of doing that.”
For Powell, it was an opportunity both to lay out his own vision for the future of monetary policy and to assure senators, many of whom spoke warmly about outgoing Chair Janet Yellen, that the status quo is likely to prevail going forward. In turn, the hearing offered little acrimony from senators who repeatedly sought — unsuccessfully — to get Powell to wade into the current political battle in Congress over tax reform.
“I’m not an expert on what analysis is out there on this tax proposal,” he said at one point.