Yellen To Congress: Slowing Inflation Won’t Delay Plans To Tighten Monetary Policy
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told Congress officials are on track to continue tightening monetary policy through gradual rate hikes and by shrinking the Fed's $4.5 trillion balance sheet.
The economy remains strong thanks to robust job gains and continued record-low unemployment. Yellen told members of the Senate Banking Committee Thursday that slowing inflation, which continues to fall short of the Fed's 2% goal, will likely be temporary because the price of imported goods is expected to rise, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Fed is penciling in one more interest rate hike for the year, which economists overwhelmingly predict will occur in December. That would be the Fed’s fourth move in a 12-month period. In June, central bankers increased short-term rates by a quarter point to a range of 1% to 1.25%.
Federal Reserve officials signaled plans to begin scaling back the central bank’s massive bond portfolio starting in September, June minutes indicate, though an official timeline has yet to be confirmed.
With the economy now in its eighth year of economic expansion, there is less need for such an aggressive quantitative easing program. Yellen said during her speech that though a volatile shock could curb that positive expansion, she does not see anything damning on the horizon.
“I don’t see anything inherent in the nature of the expansion that suggests it will come to an end anytime soon,” Yellen said.