Washington, Aug 25: Additional interest rate hikes are still on the table and rates could remain elevated for longer than expected, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Friday, a media report said.
In a highly-anticipated speech at the Kansas City Fed’s annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Powell said the Fed will pay close attention to economic growth and the state of the labor market when making policy decisions, CNN reported.
“Although inflation has moved down from its peak — a welcome development — it remains too high,” Powell said, adding, “We are prepared to raise rates further if appropriate, and intend to hold policy at a restrictive level until we are confident that inflation is moving sustainably down toward our objective," CNN reported.
The Fed chief’s annual presentation at the symposium, which has become a major event in the world of central banking, typically hints at what to expect from monetary policy in the coming months.
The Fed raised its benchmark lending rate by a quarter point in July to a range of 5.25-5.5%, the highest level in 22 years, following a pause in June. Minutes from the Fed’s July meeting showed that officials were concerned about the economy’s surprising strength keeping upward pressure on prices, suggesting more rate hikes if necessary, CNN reported.
Some officials have said in recent speeches that the Fed can afford to keep rates steady, underscoring the intense debate among officials on what the Fed should do next.
Financial markets still see an overwhelming chance the Fed will decide to hold rates steady at its September meeting, according to the CME FedWatch tool, given that inflationary pressures have continued to wane, CNN reported.