Federal Reserve officials are now saying that inflation will run longer than expected. However, the agency remains insistent that price increases will slow down in 2022 as the pandemic eases.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell Admits Inflation May Last Longer Than Expected
In his Tuesday remarks, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned lawmakers that the reasons for the increase in inflation rates will linger longer than expected.
In his speech to the Senate Banking Committee, Powell said that US economic growth continues to pick up. However, The economy also continues to face rising prices due to supply chain issues.
Powell remains confident that pressure will return to the original 2% target by 2022. “Inflation is elevated and will likely remain so in coming months before moderating.
As the economy continues to reopen and spending rebounds, we are seeing upward pressure on prices, particularly due to supply bottlenecks in some sectors. These effects have been larger and longer-lasting than anticipated, but they will abate, and as they do, inflation is expected to drop back toward our longer-run 2 percent goal,” he said.
Federal Reserve Will Pull Back On Some Stimulus
Congress mandates that the Federal Reserve chairman give testimony regarding the agency’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Powell is set to speak to the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.
During their policy meeting last week, Fed officials said that they will start pulling back from the stimulus efforts they enacted since last year. This includes tapering bond purchases made to prop up the economy.
However, officials noted that reducing asset purchases does not automatically mean a rise in interest rates. “We at the Fed will do all we can to support the economy for as long as it takes to complete the recovery,” Powell added.
Inflation Rate Adjusted to 4.2% By End of 2021
As a result of the deliberations, the policy meeting concluded that the annual rate at the end of the year will settle at 4.2%. This is a 0.8% adjustment from the 3.4% they set last June. Despite the adjustments for this year, the Fed remained hopeful for a 2.2% inflation rate next year.
Powell attributes the rising inflation to supply-chain bottlenecks and shortages. IN return, these bottlenecks are a direct result of the pandemic. “These bottleneck effects have been larger and longer-lasting than anticipated,” he explained.
“While these supply effects are prominent for now, they will abate. And as they do, inflation is expected to drop back toward our longer-run goal.”
Inflation Higher Than Expected
As a result of the supply backlogs, inflation rates are going wild. The expected rate of 4.2% is more than twice as high as the Fed’s long-term target projections of 2%. With present interest rates at near zero, policymakers are now seriously considering raising interest rates to ease the pressure.
From seven members in June, nine members of the policy committee are now in favor of raising rates by next year. The remaining nine members expect to raise interest rates after 2023 or later.
In addition, the committee members believe that the US economy is on target to grow by 5.9% this year. This is noticeably 1.1% lower than earlier projections of 7% three months ago.
“What happened was, Delta happened,” Powell said.
Will Biden Reappoint Powell As Federal Reserve Chairman?
Powell’s four-year term is nearing its end. It expires this coming February unless President Joe Biden decides to renew his appointment. Powell, a Republican, is an appointee of former President Progressive Democrats are urging Biden to get a new chairman such as Lael Brainard.
Brainard currently serves on the Fed’s Board of Governors. When asked about his reappointment, Powell said he’s just focusing on doing his job.
Watch CNBC Television’s video reporting that Fed Chair Jerome Powell will testify in front of Congress tomorrow:
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