Ten years after the peak of the financial crisis, Jerome Powell’s Federal Reserve sees a U.S. economy capable of humming along without support from monetary policy.
Unemployment is low. Inflation is stable and anchored. Financial conditions merit watching, but don’t look overly worrisome. And against that backdrop, policy makers are raising interest rates gradually despite renewed criticism from President Donald Trump.
They made an expected rate increase on Wednesday, their third in 2018, while telegraphing another before year-end. In an optimistic press conference, the chairman also indicated that the path is clear for future hiking well into 2019.
“It’s a particularly bright moment,” Powell said of the economy. He praised the value of gradual rate increases, which have allowed the Fed to watch their policy moves play out.
“What we’re going to be doing, as we go through time, is asking at every meeting whether monetary policy is set to achieve our goals,” Powell said.