Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday suggested an interest-rate cut in July, widely expected by investors and economists, is not a done deal.
While greater uncertainty about trade and worries about global economy might be starting to show through to economic data, officials don’t know how long this may last and how serious the drag might be, the Fed chairman said.
“The question my colleagues and I are grappling with is whether these uncertainties will continue to weigh on the outlook and thus call for additional policy accommodation,” Powell said, in brief remarks ahead of a moderated discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
Powell said that “many FOMC participants” judge that the case for somewhat more accommodative policy has strengthened.
Only 10 of the 17 Fed participants are voters. The committee voted 9-1 to hold rates steady last week.
Since the Fed meeting last week, three Fed officials have publicly made the case for interest rate cuts and one took a wait-and-see approach similar to Powell’s.
Powell said Fed officials are mindful that monetary policy “should not overreact to any individual data point or short-term swing in sentiment.”
Powell said the basic economic outlook of the FOMC “remains favorable.” Officials expect inflation to return to 2% over time “but at a somewhat slower pace than we foresaw earlier in the year,” he said. The downside risks to this outlook appear to have grown, he said.
Source : MarketWatch