Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell stressed the central bank’s independence in a speech Tuesday that comes amid continuous pressure from the White House to cut interest rates.
He spoke during a event at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York that investors were watching closely for clues about the direction of monetary policy.
His remarks mirrored those from last week’s Federal Open Markets Committee meeting, and he emphasized that policy is under review though he did not overtly tip is hand that a rate cut is at hand. Markets are currently pricing in four quarter-point reductions by April 2020.
“Since the beginning of the year, we had been taking a patient stance toward assessing the need for any policy change,” he said. “We now state that the Committee will closely monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near its symmetric 2 percent objective.”
However, he emphasized that politics won’t be a consideration as the Fed is “grappling” with the idea of a rate cut.
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