Jerome Powell had a bumpy first year as Federal Reserve chairman when it came to talking policy, by turns spooking and comforting investors even as economic data offered increasingly mixed signals and President Donald Trump stepped up his attacks on the U.S. central bank.
And as 2018 closes out with a dramatic slump in stocks and a drop in bond yields, financial markets will need to brace for next year, when Powell is scheduled to make more unscripted public remarks than any Fed chief in history.
A lawyer and former investment banker whose long career in markets and government gave him the real-world perspective Trump sought in a Fed chair, Powell took office in February determined to improve the Fed’s communications with Congress and the public. He meets frequently with legislators, and speaks about policy in a style that is less economic textbook and more folksy than past Fed chiefs, who in recent decades have all been economists.
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