Fed chair Jerome Powell to speak on market concerns Thursday

Dow Jones Industrial Average Last 5 Days Source TradingView

Dow Jones Industrial Average Last 5 Days Source TradingView

But they also noted that if trade disputes were resolved favorably, that could lead to "stronger-than-expected economic outcomes". "You should anticipate that we're going to be patient and watching, and waiting and seeing". The Fed cut the rate to nearly zero during the financial crisis but has since raised it to a "neutral" level, meant to neither stimulate nor constrain the economy. Yesterday the Australian share market closed 0.3 per cent higher or 17 points higher at 5,795. He said he didn't know the exact level. He simply reiterated the message from the latest FOMC minutes that policy makers regard the economic outlook as solid, despite intensifying downside risks.

Asked if the Fed still plans two rate hikes, Powell emphasized there is not on a set course.

While he has near weekly meetings with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Powell said he has not met with Trump since taking over as Fed chairman, nor does he have any meetings with the president scheduled. However, many economists believe the Fed may end up raising rates only once in 2019, and that solo rate hike may not occur until the middle of the year.

Speaking to an audience in Washington, Powell delivered the same reassuring message of restraint and flexibility that bolstered markets last Friday.

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Fed Chairman Jerome Powell last week opened the door to a pause in rate increases, pledging to be patient with any future rate hikes as officials take their cues from the economy's performance. Bloomberg's financial conditions index has retraced much of its December tightening.

In his remarks before the Economic Club of Washington, Powell described the economy as strong at the end of previous year, with the lowest unemployment levels in a half-century and solid gains in wages.

The Fed chief was also asked about the partial U.S. government shutdown.

At the same time, Powell acknowledged that financial markets are expressing concern about risks. "The principal worry is global growth", he said. Rubenstein also hosts an interview show on Bloomberg Television.

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"I don't see anything that suggests the possibility of a recession in the near term is at all elevated", he said.

Still, the report indicates Fed officials expect the economy to continue to grow with subdued inflation, which would make some further rate hikes necessary. Those forecasts appear supported by a robust December labor-market report, which showed the economy added 312,000 non-farm jobs, the most in 10 months.

Even so, US central bankers face a challenging year that's complicating their communication.

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