‘We don’t need to be in a hurry to cut’: Jerome Powell says Fed will wait for inflation to ‘come in line’

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Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Friday said he isn’t in any rush to cut interest rates. “We don’t need to be in a hurry to cut,” Powell said at an event.

Fresh inflation data released earlier is “pretty much in line with our expectations,” he said. But he reiterated it won’t be right to lower rates until officials are confident inflation is on track toward their 2% goal.

“It’s good to see something coming in in line with expectations,” he said, adding that the latest readings aren’t as good as what policymakers saw last year.

The Fed’s preferred gauge of underlying inflation cooled last month after an even larger increase than previously reported in January, government data released Friday showed. The core personal consumption expenditures price index — which excludes volatile food and energy costs — rose 0.3% in February after climbing 0.5% in the previous month, marking its biggest back-to-back gain in a year.

Powell said officials expect inflation to continue falling on a “sometimes bumpy path,” echoing remarks he made following the Fed’s last policy meeting earlier this month.

Fed officials held short-term interest rates at a more than two-decade high at that meeting, and a narrow majority penciled in three rate cuts for 2024. 

Powell said at the time that it would likely be appropriate to ease policy “at some point this year.” But he and other policymakers have made clear they’re in no rush given the underlying strength of the economy and recent signs of persistent price pressures.

US economy has remained resilient despite high interest rates. Inflation-adjusted consumer spending topped all economists’ estimates in February, and employers are still hiring workers at a robust clip. Data out earlier this week showed economic growth in the fourth quarter was stronger than originally thought.



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