Sat, Nov 04, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Powell vows vigilance on US market risks

POST-CRISIS IMPROVEMENTS:While US Republicans had hoped Jerome Powell might ease banking regulations, he has said the US financial system has been made safer


Jerome Powell, US President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the US Federal Reserve, talked up the strength of the US economy as he pledged to guard against financial market risks.

“In the years since the global financial crisis ended, our economy has made substantial progress toward full recovery,” Powell said on Thursday during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden with the US president. “By many measures we are close to full employment and inflation has gradually moved up toward our target.”

Powell’s nomination to succeed Fed chair Janet Yellen, whose term expires on Feb. 3 next year, is subject to Senate confirmation.

Senate Banking Committee chairman Mike Crapo separately said his goal was to have Powell confirmed by year-end.

Powell revealed little of his thinking on what, if any, changes he might seek at the Fed, opting instead to pledge to pursue the goals set for the central bank by Congress.

“Inside the Federal Reserve, we understand that monetary policy decisions matter for American families and communities,” Powell said. “I strongly share that sense of mission and am committed to making decisions with objectivity, based on available evidence and in the longstanding tradition of monetary policy independence.”

A Fed governor since 2012, Powell, 64, supported Yellen’s policy of only gradually raising interest rates in the face of robust jobs growth and has supported only modest adjustments to the raft of banking regulation implemented in the wake of the 2008 to 2009 financial crisis.

While many Republican lawmakers are hoping Powell will help them roll back post-crisis banking regulation they believe is stifling economic growth, he made a point of saying the financial system had been made safer.

“While post-crisis improvements in regulation and supervision have helped us to achieve these gains, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that the Federal Reserve remains vigilant and prepared to respond to changes in markets and evolving risks,” he said.

The ceremony took place just as Republicans at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue began unveiling plans for major changes to the US tax laws, a package that will present Powell with his first policy test.

Fed officials forecast raising rates again next month following hikes in March and June, quarterly projections they updated in September show, with three additional moves penciled in for next year.

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