Fed Chair Jerome Powell increases the neutral interest rate to a range of 1.5% to 1.75% in his debut press conference.

Chanel Holden

2018-03-21 06:32:00 Wed ET

Fed Chair Jerome Powell increases the neutral interest rate to a range of 1.5% to 1.75% in his debut post-FOMC press conference. The Federal Reserve raises the interest rate for the sixth time since the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) near-zero rate lift-off in December 2015. The Fed Chair transition from Yellen to Powell indicates a moderate monetary policy regime switch from dovish to hawkish in accordance with the recent FOMC minutes.

The Federal Reserve now targets a core PCE inflation rate above 2.1% as the U.S. unemployment rate gradually declines to the lowest level of 3.8%-4.1% in 17 years. Most dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) New Keynesian economic models suggest that Powell has to trade off near-full employment with inflationary momentum. As inflation picks up over time, Powell must gradually raise the neutral interest rate to tame upward price gyrations when the U.S. economy operates near full employment.

Former Fed Chair Janet Yellen might prefer to keep the lower interest rate for a longer period of time, whereas, Powell departs from this lower-for-longer dovish and accommodative monetary policy stance in response to key FOMC hawks who express deep concerns about high inflation or price instability.

 


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