Monthly Archives: August 2015

Top Fed official: ‘Good reason to believe’ inflation will rise

By Ylan Q. Mui

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer attends a televised interview during the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's annual Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming August 28, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Crosby

Stanley Fischer, during a televised interview Saturday at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium in Wyoming. (Jonathan Crosby/Reuters)

JACKSON HOLE, WYO. — Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer argued Saturday that the persistently low inflation that has plagued the country in recent years could finally begin to reverse, but would likely rise slowly.

Speaking at an annual symposium sponsored by the Kansas City Fed in the foothills of the Grand Tetons, Fischer expressed faith in the central bank’s ability to return inflation to its goal of 2 percent, which is generally associated with a healthy economy. But he cautioned that amid wild swings in world financial markets and China’s devaluation of its currency, central bank officials are monitoring the global economy “even more closely than usual.”

“In making our monetary policy decisions, we are interested more in where the U.S. economy is heading than in knowing whence it came,” Fischer said. “That is why we need to consider the overall state of the U.S. economy as well as the influence of foreign economies on the U.S. economy as we reach our judgement on whether and how to change monetary policy.”

The Fed is facing a momentous decision over whether to begin withdrawing its unprecedented support for the U.S. economy when it meets in Washington next month for its regular policy meeting. The central bank slashed its target interest rate to zero during the depths of the financial crisis in 2008 and has left it there ever since in hopes of fostering a stronger recovery. Over the past year, hiring has been robust and the unemployment rate has dropped to 5.3 percent, leading officials to finally consider the momentous step of raising its benchmark rate.

Yet exceedingly low inflation has thrown a …read more

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Fed vice chair on rates: No decision made on September

By Ylan Q. Mui

“We've got a little over two weeks before we make the decision, and we've got time to wait and see the incoming data and see what, exactly, what is now going on in the economy.”

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer gives an interview during the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., on Friday. (Reuters/Jonathan Crosby)

JACKSON HOLE, WYO. — Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said Friday that it was “too early to tell” whether the nation’s central bank should raise its target interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade when it meets next week.

In an interview with CNBC during the Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Fischer said the implications of China’s recent decision to let its currency float more freely and the global turmoil in financial markets are still unclear. But he said the U.S. economy was returning to normal and that the central bank was looking for further improvement in the labor market once the government releases its monthly tally of job creation and unemployment next week.

“We haven’t made a decision yet, and I don’t think that we should make a decision,” he said. “We’ve got a little over two weeks before we make the decision, and we’ve got time to wait and see the incoming data and see what, exactly, what is now going on in the economy.”

The Fed has said that it plans to raise its benchmark rate — currently at zero — sometime this year, and investors had widely expected that to happen when the central bank meets in Washington in September. But that timing has now been cast into doubt following the wild swings in stock markets at home and abroad and the growing concerns that China is entering a protracted economic slowdown. In public remarks on Wednesday, New York Fed President William Dudley said the case for raising rates in September was “less compelling.”

The question has …read more

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