Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signaled an openness to cut interest rates if necessary, pledging to keep a close watch on fallout from a deepening set of disputes between the U.S. and its largest trading partners.
Referring to “trade negotiations and other matters,” Powell said that “we do not know how or when these issues will be resolved,” according to the text of a speech he’s set to deliver Tuesday in Chicago.
“We are closely monitoring the implications of these developments for the U.S. economic outlook and, as always, we will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near our symmetric 2% objective,” Powell said in opening remarks at a conference at the Chicago Fed.
Investors have aggressively increased bets the Fed will cut interest rates this year after President Donald Trump widened ongoing trade tensions when he threatened last week to slap new tariffs on Mexico unless it stemmed migrant flows to the U.S. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries Monday fell below 2.1%, the lowest since September 2017.
Powell’s speech was dedicated mostly to the Fed’s yearlong goal of reviewing its monetary policy strategies, tools and communication practices.
“With the economy growing, unemployment low, and inflation low and stable, this is the right time to engage the public broadly on these topics,” Powell said.
Source : Bloomberg