Fed can’t tame inflation without ‘significantly’ more hikes that will cause a recession, paper says

Powell Says Fed Could Raise Rates More Quickly to Tame Inflation

Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, voiced worry about inflation expectations and declared the primal bank gear up to do what it takes to control rapid price increases.

Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, said the central bank was prepared to quickly remove economic support if inflation proved hard to tame.


Tom Brenner for The New York Times

Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, said on Monday that the central banking company was prepared to more apace withdraw support from the economy if doing and so proved necessary to bring rapid inflation nether control.

Mr. Powell signaled that the Fed could make big interest rate increases and push rates to relatively loftier levels in its quest to cool off demand and temper inflation, which is running at its fastest step in xl years. His comments were the clearest argument yet that the central banking company was gear up to forcefully attack rapid price increases to make certain that they practise non go a permanent feature of the American economic system.

“There is an obvious need to move expeditiously to render the stance of monetary policy to a more neutral level, and then to move to more than restrictive levels if that
is what is required to restore price stability,” Mr. Powell said during remarks to a conference of business economists.

Policymakers raised interest rates by a quarter indicate last week and forecast 6 more similarly sized increases this year. On Mon, Mr. Powell foreshadowed a potentially more ambitious path. A restrictive rate setting would clasp the economy, slowing consumer spending and the labor marketplace — a motion akin to the Fed’southward hitting the brakes rather than just taking its human foot off the accelerator.

“If we conclude that information technology is appropriate to movement more than aggressively by raising the federal funds rate by more than 25 footing points at a meeting or meetings, we will practice so,” Mr. Powell said. “And if we determine that we demand to tighten beyond common measures of neutral and into a more restrictive opinion, we will do that every bit well.”

Asked what would proceed the Fed from raising interest rates by half a per centum betoken at its next meeting in May, Mr. Powell replied, “Nothing.” He said the Fed had not all the same made a decision on its next rate increase but noted that officials would brand a supersized motility if they thought one was appropriate.

“The expectation going into this yr was that we would basically see inflation peaking in the commencement quarter, then maybe leveling out,” Mr. Powell said. “That story has already fallen apart. To the extent that it continues to autumn apart, my colleagues and I may well accomplish the conclusion that nosotros’ll need to move more chop-chop.”

Stocks fell in response to Mr. Powell’s comments and were downwardly 0.6 percent by the time he finished speaking in the early afternoon; the Southward&P 500 index closed the day down 0.four percent. Higher interest rates can push down stock prices as they pull money away from riskier assets — similar shares in companies — and toward safer havens, like bonds, and every bit they make money more than expensive to borrow for businesses. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose every bit high as 2.iii percent as Mr. Powell was speaking, and the yield on 2-year Treasurys rose in a higher place 2 pct for the starting time time since 2019.

Rising rates can especially hurt share prices if they tank economic growth or cause the economy to contract.

While the Fed has often acquired recessions past raising interest rates in a bid to slow downward demand and cool off price increases, Mr. Powell voiced optimism that the primal depository financial institution could avoid such an consequence this time, in part because the economy is starting from a potent place. Even so, he acknowledged that guiding aggrandizement downwardly without severely hurting the economic system would be a challenge.

“No one expects that bringing near a soft landing will exist straightforward in the current context,” Mr. Powell said.

But getting toll gains under control is the Fed’s priority, and while the key bank had been hoping for inflation to fade as pandemic disruptions abate, Mr. Powell was adamant that it could no longer watch and wait for that to happen.

In addition to raising rates, the Fed plans to reduce its large bond holdings by allowing securities to expire, which would push upward longer-term borrowing costs, including mortgage rates, helping to have steam out of the economic system. Mr. Powell emphasized that the balance sheet shrinking could begin imminently.

Activity on the residue sheet “could come as soon as our adjacent meeting in May, though that is not a decision that we have made,” Mr. Powell said.

The Fed is preparing to pull back support even as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stokes economical incertitude. The conflict has pushed energy prices higher, something that the Fed would typically disbelieve, since it is likely to fade somewhen. Simply Mr. Powell said information technology could non ignore the increase when inflation was already high.

“The inflation outlook had deteriorated significantly this year fifty-fifty before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Mr. Powell noted.

The oil and gas price spike and other commodity disruptions tied to the war in Ukraine could push already accelerating prices even higher, spelling problem for consumer inflation expectations. Expectations tin can get cocky-fulfilling if shoppers and businesses come up to expect inflation year after yr and act appropriately.

“The hazard is ascension that an extended catamenia of high inflation could push longer-term expectations uncomfortably higher,” Mr. Powell said.

Still, he noted that the task market was already very strong, which could assist the economy withstand a period with more restrictive policy.

“By many measures, the labor market place is extremely tight, significantly tighter than the very strong job market place only earlier the pandemic,” Mr. Powell said. “Tape numbers of people are quitting jobs each calendar month, typically to accept another job with higher pay.”

Fed officials are hoping that workers — who are in brusque supply — will go back into the job market in the coming months and years, helping to take pressure off employers. If that happens, information technology could help inflation to wearisome downwards as wage growth moderates.

“In a sense, it’southward a bang-up labor market,” Mr. Powell said — but not a sustainable one. He noted that “this is a labor marketplace that’s out of balance, that actually has an excess of demand over supply.”

Employees accept gone back more slowly than forecasters expected, either because they retired early on or because pandemic-tied problems like caregiving shortages are keeping them at home. Likewise, supply chain problems, like manufactory shutdowns and shipping snarls, accept been slower to heal, in part because of repeated coronavirus outbreaks.

“It continues to seem likely that hoped-for supply-side healing volition come over time as the world ultimately settles into some new normal, but the timing and scope of that relief are highly uncertain,” Mr. Powell said. “In the meantime, as we set up policy, nosotros will exist looking to actual progress on these problems and not assuming significant near-term supply-side relief.”

Talmon Joseph Smith
contributed reporting.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/21/business/economy/powell-fed-inflation.html

Check Also

Thousands targeted after phone numbers hacked in health scam in France

Thousands targeted after phone numbers hacked in health scam in France

Publication March 1, 2018 Preface Scammers are sneaky and sly. They can target anyone, from …