Powell Says Fed Is 'Waiting and Watching' With Patience on Rates

GS financial conditions index

After four rate hikes previous year, the Fed would be "bordering on going too far and possibly tipping the economy into recession" if rates go higher, Bullard said, adding that he would be willing to cut interest rates if needed.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), an office under the U.S. Department of Commerce, has already stopped updating data for weeks due to the shutdown.

"We can afford to be patient about assessing how to adjust our policy stance, he said".

Starting after the January 30 announcement, Powell will hold a press conference after every meeting, rather than just four times a year, giving him many more opportunities to try to communicate with financial markets. Minutes of the December meeting released on Wednesday showed that many officials felt the central bank "could afford to be patient about further policy firming", indicating the Fed could place interest rates on hold through March or longer as it waits for clarity on risks to global growth that could affect the USA economy. He simply reiterated the message from the latest FOMC minutes that policy makers regard the economic outlook as solid, despite intensifying downside risks.

"There is no pre-set path for policy", Powell said in his Atlanta comments, which helped to send the market up by 746 points last Friday.

It was yet another dovish signal from one of the members of the monetary policy committee that votes eight times a year on interest rates, and likely to reassure financial markets. A couple of participants noted that the tightening in financial conditions so far did not appear to be restraining real activity, although a more persistent tightening would undoubtedly weigh on business and household spending.

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"I don't see a recession", he told a gathering of the Economic Club of Washington.

Powell also anxious about the lack of key economic statistics during the government shutdown that the Fed uses to take the temperature of the economy, such as retail sales and GDP growth. Rubenstein also hosts an interview show on Bloomberg Television.

Powell said, for now, there is no evidence suggesting an elevated possibility of a recession. Fed chairs have met with presidents in the past, he added.

However, he acknowledged the concerns reflected in global stock markets and said the Fed had "the ability to be patient and figure out which of these two narratives is going to be the story of 2019". "But what I do know is that we will be prepared to adjust policy quickly and flexibly and to use all of our tools to support the economy should that be appropriate to keep the expansion on track, to keep the labor market strong and to keep inflation near 2 percent".

But Rosengren, like Evans, are upbeat about the United States economy, while acknowledging the growth will slow this year.

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