One day after officials revealed that United States inflation saw its greatest monthly hike since 2008, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell announced that the central bank will not taper its aggressive quantitative easing.
In prepared remarks to Congress released on Wednesday, Powell said that inflation “has increased notably and will likely remain elevated in coming months before moderating.” However, Powell asserted that such inflation is temporary and primarily driven by post-COVID production bottlenecks.
Powell also revealed that the Federal Open Market Committee will not amend its interest rate targets or $120 billion monthly bond purchases — both of which increase the supply of dollars to promote economic stimulus:
At our June meeting, the FOMC kept the federal funds rate near zero and maintained the pace of our asset purchases. These measures, along with our strong guidance on interest rates and on our balance sheet, will ensure that monetary policy will continue to deliver powerful support to the economy until the recovery is complete.
In addition, we are continuing to increase our holdings of Treasury securities and agency mortgage‑backed securities at least at their current pace until substantial further progress has been made toward our maximum-employment and price-stability goals. These purchases have materially eased financial conditions and are providing substantial support to the economy.
The announcement comes one day after the Department of Labor found that the Consumer Price Index saw its most drastic one-month increase since 2008, leading to a 5.4% year-over-year inflation rate. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had only anticipated a 5% increase in CPI, marking another instance of inflation data significantly outpacing predictions.
“What this really shows is inflation pressures remain more acute than appreciated and are going to be with us for a longer period,” Wells Fargo economist Sarah House explained to CNBC. “We are seeing areas where there’s going to be ongoing inflation pressure even after we get past some of those acute price hikes in a handful of sectors.”
Earlier this week, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York revealed that median one-year inflation expectations under the “Survey of Consumer Expectations” climbed to 4.8% — a 0.8% increase since last month. The metric hit its highest level since measurement began in 2013.
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