Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s Outlook on U.S. Inflation and Monetary Policy: Insights and Caution

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell anticipates a continued decline in U.S. inflation through 2024, resembling the trend observed last year. However, he acknowledges a decrease in confidence regarding this projection, following a faster-than-expected price increase in the first quarter.

Powell expressed his belief that inflation will regress to lower levels, comparable to the readings observed in the previous year, on a monthly basis. Nevertheless, he admitted a decrease in his confidence level regarding this forecast.

Despite the uncertainties, Powell reiterated the Fed’s patience in allowing the current policy rate to have its intended impact, implying an inclination towards maintaining the status quo rather than implementing rate hikes.

Powell emphasized the Fed’s stance of not foreseeing a rate hike as the next policy move, based on current data. He emphasized the likelihood of maintaining the policy rate at its present level.

Powell acknowledged the challenges ahead, stating that the Fed was prepared for a non-linear path towards achieving its objectives, including managing inflation.

Powell’s remarks followed the release of data indicating a faster-than-expected increase in producer prices in April, potentially signaling upward pressure on consumer prices. However, he interpreted the data as “quite mixed,” highlighting downward revisions in input prices for previous months.

In April, US PPI increased by 0.5% compared to the previous month, surpassing the expected 0.3%. Year-on-year, it reached 2.2%, slightly higher than the previous 2.1%. Core PPI also saw a month-on-month rise of 0.5%, exceeding the expected 0.2%. Year-on-year, it remained steady at 2.4%.

The Federal Reserve has maintained its benchmark policy rate within a range of 5.25% to 5.5% since July, underscoring the central bank’s commitment to its current monetary policy stance.

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