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Fed Chair Powell: "It could be appropriate to start reducing the pace of asset purchases this year"

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by Calculated Risk on 8/27/2021 10:18:00 AM

From Fed Chair Powell at Jackson Hole Symposium: Monetary Policy in the Time of Covid (Watch speech here). Excerpt:

That brings me to a concluding word on the path ahead for monetary policy. The Committee remains steadfast in our oft-expressed commitment to support the economy for as long as is needed to achieve a full recovery. The changes we made last year to our Statement on Longer-Run Goals and Monetary Policy Strategy are well suited to address today’s challenges.

We have said that we would continue our asset purchases at the current pace until we see substantial further progress toward our maximum employment and price stability goals, measured since last December, when we first articulated this guidance. My view is that the “substantial further progress” test has been met for inflation. There has also been clear progress toward maximum employment. At the FOMC’s recent July meeting, I was of the view, as were most participants, that if the economy evolved broadly as anticipated, it could be appropriate to start reducing the pace of asset purchases this year. The intervening month has brought more progress in the form of a strong employment report for July, but also the further spread of the Delta variant. We will be carefully assessing incoming data and the evolving risks. Even after our asset purchases end, our elevated holdings of longer-term securities will continue to support accommodative financial conditions.

The timing and pace of the coming reduction in asset purchases will not be intended to carry a direct signal regarding the timing of interest rate liftoff, for which we have articulated a different and substantially more stringent test. We have said that we will continue to hold the target range for the federal funds rate at its current level until the economy reaches conditions consistent with maximum employment, and inflation has reached 2 percent and is on track to moderately exceed 2 percent for some time. We have much ground to cover to reach maximum employment, and time will tell whether we have reached 2 percent inflation on a sustainable basis.
emphasis added

Personal Income increased 1.1% in July, Spending increased 0.3%

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