New York Fed CEO John Williams listens to sharp share price declines as part of the data-dependent interest rate policy.

Dan Rochefort

2019-01-02 06:28:00 Wed ET

New York Fed CEO John Williams listens to sharp share price declines as part of the data-dependent interest rate policy. The Federal Reserve can respond to stock market plunges, but key FOMC members still view the U.S. economy as sufficiently strong to grow with higher interest rates. Williams emphasizes softening the central bank language that the next 2 interest rate increases are only economic projections. The upward interest rate trajectory is not a matter of right-or-wrong with Wall Street, and the central bank cannot be on autopilot at this stage of the real business cycle. Williams expects U.S. real GDP to slow to 2%-2.5% in 2019 from 3%-3.5% in 2018, whereas, inflation should be around 2% in 2019. Trump tariffs continue to pose a major tone of economic policy uncertainty.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tries to assuage bank CEOs and stock market investors that the Trump administration has no power to oust Fed Chair Jay Powell for his recent interest rate hike. Mnuchin seeks consultation with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Reserve on the partial government shutdown and stock market turmoil. This stock market plunge protection team hence receives reassurance from banks that there is ample liquidity for lending to both consumers and firms.

 


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