Fed chief Powell returns to Congress as markets seek clarity
FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell delivers the semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to the House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, U.S., February 27, 2018.
WASHINGTON: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify in Congress for the second time this week on Thursday, as markets look for clarity over whether the U.S. central bank will accelerate the pace of its interest rate increases this year.Powell's appearance before the Senate Banking Committee, a follow-up to his hearing before the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT).His comments to lawmakers on Tuesday sparked a jump in U.S. bond yields and a drop in U.S. stocks as investors took his bullish statements about the U.S. economy as a signal the Fed would raise rates four times this year, as opposed to the three increases policymakers projected in December.Equities fell again on Wednesday and were down in early trading on Thursday after the Commerce Department reported that consumer prices increased in January, with a gauge of underlying inflation posting its largest gain in 12 months.The report added to the sense that inflation is moving up to the Fed's 2 percent target."Rising inflationary pressures will keep the Fed hiking," analysts at Capitol Economics wrote after the latest inflation data.
(Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Paul Simao)
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