Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank is more concerned with an appropriate rate target to fight inflation than the pace at which it continues to raise rates.
While Powell has opened the door to slowing the Fed’s rate hikes, perhaps by half a point in December rather than three-quarters of a point, he noted that the Fed has a long way to go before rates are high enough. The way to go is to bring inflation down to a comfortable level.
“We think there’s some ground to cover before we pass that test,” Powell said. “That’s why we’re saying it’s appropriate to keep raising rates. … We could go higher than we thought. Level.”
Powell reiterated that the Fed took into account, in part, the fact that the impact of monetary policy on the economy takes time to play out.
“That’s why I say slowing growth is appropriate,” Powell said. “So that time is coming. It may come at the next meeting or the one after that. No decision has been made.”
But Powell made it clear that “the question of when to slow the pace of rate hikes now is far less important than the question of how high and how restrictive monetary policy will be.” In other words: Even if the Fed slowed the pace of rate hikes, it would Continue to raise interest rates for quite some time.