Fed takes "forceful and rapid" steps to moderate demand: Powell's press conference

Sep. 21, 2022 2:36 PM ETBy: Liz Kiesche, SA News Editor250 Comments

Federal Reserve Chairman Powell Holds A News Conference On Interest Rate Policy

Win McNamee

The Federal Reserve is raising rates "purposefully" to reach levels to bring down inflation, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in the press conference after the central bank raised its key rate by 75 basis points for a third straight meeting. It's taking "forceful and rapid" steps to moderate demand, he added.

The Federal Open Market Committee's median expectation for GDP growth was trimmed to 0.2% this year and to 1.2% for next year, he said.

Labor markets are still extremely tight and job gains are robust, Powell said. "The labor market continues to be out of balance," he added.

"Price pressures remain evident" across a broad range of goods and services, though energy prices have declined.

3:13 PM ET:Powell ends the press conference, saying the path the Fed takes "will be enough" to bring inflation down.

3:10 PM ET: A "difficult correction" in the housing market should result in a more normal price growth path, compared with the red-hot housing market earlier this year.

3:03 PM ET: The CME FedWatch Tool now puts a 69.1% probability of a 75 bps rate hike at the next FOMC meeting in November, and then a 65.7% chance for a 50 bps increase in December.

3:00 PM ET: The rate hikes are having an effect on interest-sensitive spending (such as housing). However, consumers still have some savings and the states "are flush with cash," he said. "There's good reason to think it will be a reasonably strong economy," Powell said.

2:56 PM ET: As for its balance sheet shrinking plan, the Fed isn't considering a decision on selling mortgage-backed securities "anytime soon," the Fed chair said.

2:52 PM ET: He would not predict the size of the rate increase at the next meeting. "The median for year-end suggests another 125 basis points," but another group of policymakers saw 100 bp of increases by year-end, Powell said. "We're committed to a restrictive level and getting there pretty quickly."

2:49 PM ET: The expectation that rates will need to stay restrictive for longer will hurt the chances for a soft landing, he said.

2:45 PM ET: In Powell's estimation, the Fed has just moved its rate to the "very lowest" level of restrictive. Commodity prices look like they may have peaked, but factors such as the war in Ukraine still cloud the outlook.

2:40 PM ET: "My main message has not changed at all since Jackson Hole," he said.

"There's only modest evidence that the labor market has cooled. In light of the high inflation that we're seeing, we think that we'll need to bring the federal funds rate to a restrictive level and keep it there for some time." The central bankers will need to see "clear evidence" that inflation is moving toward its 2% objective before slowing the rate hike pace.

Updated at 2:38 PM ET: "At some point" a slower pace of rate increases will be appropriate, and the FOMC will make their rate decision on meeting-by-meeting basis, Powell added.

Also see, Fed's dot plot signal policy rate topping 4% in 2022, peaking in 2023.

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