Powell says more gradual interest-rate hikes is the ‘best way forward’

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday said continued gradual interest-rate hikes was the “best way forward” for monetary policy. “With a strong job market, inflation close to our objective, and the risks to the outlook roughly balanced, the FOMC believes that – for now – the best way forward is to keep gradually raising the federal funds rate,” Powell said in testimony to the Senate Banking Committee. Powell said the unemployment rate is expected to fall further and the Fed’s challenge will be to keep inflation close to 2%. Key unknowns are the outcome of the ongoing trade disputes and the impact of the Trump tax cuts and boost in federal spending, he said. “Overall, we see the risk of the economy unexpectedly weakening as roughly balanced with the possibility of the economy growing faster than we currently anticipate,” he said.

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