Seeing no significant risk of recession, Jerome Powell is echoing his prepared testimony and underscoring the strengthening outlook for the economy. But the new chairman, carefully side stepping questions from House members, is not giving away whether the strength will mean a fourth rate hike this year vs the three that are already expected.
Powell welcomed tax cuts and the prospect of rising fiscal stimulus, saying they may lead to higher corporate investment and in turn to an improvement for productivity. He also repeated the importance of the 2 percent inflation goal, saying it gives the Fed more leeway and "ammunition" to manage interest rates and calling it the "golden" standard among global central banks. Powell voiced support for the effectiveness of quantitative easing, which the Fed is now beginning to unwind, and he also urged that the membership of the Fed's 7-member board, now four short, be filled promptly.