Fed will do 'whatever it takes' for U.S. economy: Chairman Powell

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The work, by top research economists at the Fed, comes as Mr. Powell is set to speak to an annual gathering of central bankers at the Kansas City Fed's symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Powell noted that the economy remained strong and anyone who wanted a job could find one.

In an address, Powell stayed resolutely focused on the policy debate and the challenges facing the Fed's rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and made it clear officials were focused on the economic data.

Mazen Issa, senior FX strategist at TD Securities in NY, said Powell's remarks built on a stance seen in the minutes of the Fed's latest policy meeting released on Wednesday.

"I see the current path of gradually raising interest rates ... to taking seriously both of these risks", he said.

"Our job at the Fed is to make decisions on monetary policy and supervision without regard to political considerations, and I'm confident we'll continue to do that", Kaplan told CNBC in an interview.

Point Bridge Capital Founder Hal Lambert, IHT Wealth Management President Steve Dudash and Payne Capital Management President Ryan Payne on the report that President Trump isn't "thrilled" with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for raising rates.

Policy Mistake Powell said the FOMC must balance the threat of moving too fast and shortening the expansion, or moving too slowly and allowing for overheating.

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The Federal Reserve should stop raising interest rates now because the economy is showing no signs of inflation surging and is expected to slow next year after the effects of fiscal stimulus wear off, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said Friday. But inflation has just risen to the Fed's 2 percent target range after years of low levels, and does not appear to be accelerating.

Since Powell took office, the central bank has raised the rate twice - by 0.25 of a percentage point each time - in a process known as monetary policy tightening.

"We can afford to wait and see and inflation does start to move up, well, we can move up", he added.

But Trump has said rising interest rates - which tends to strengthen the dollar, making U.S. exports more expensive - will slow the economy and offset the impact of the tax cuts he championed.

Based on the futures market, investors are nearly certain Fed policymakers will raise the benchmark interest rate to a range of 2 percent to 2.25 percent at its next meeting in late September, which would be the highest interest rates in a decade but not high by historical standards.

"Specifically, the reference there was that some members had become more uncomfortable with the narrative in the Fed policy statements that policy is still accommodative", Issa said. While the trade conflict between Washington and Beijing darkens the economic outlook, the supply versus demand position in oil markets remains relatively tight -especially because of the looming US sanctions against Iran. In his view, that's why the Fed can continue with a gradual pace of rate hikes that began under Yellen.

Powell's careful comments aren't likely to convince Trump, who insiders say is concerned that a rate-driven economic slowdown could hit right as he's gearing up for a 2020 re-election campaign. Trump was once again scolded by the press for criticizing the Fed a second time.

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