FOMC Press Conference, March 17, 2021 | Summary and Q&A

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March 17, 2021
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Federal Reserve
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FOMC Press Conference, March 17, 2021

TL;DR

Chair Powell discussed the progress of the U.S. economic recovery, the impact of fiscal support, and the challenges of achieving the Federal Reserve's monetary policy goals of maximum employment and price stability. He emphasized that the recovery remains uneven and uncertain, and that the path forward depends on the course of the virus and the success of vaccination efforts. He also addressed questions about inflation, interest rates, financial stability risks, and the relationship between unemployment and inflation.

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Key Insights

  • ❓ The U.S. economic recovery remains uneven and uncertain, with ongoing progress due to vaccination efforts and fiscal support.
  • 🥅 The Federal Reserve remains committed to achieving its monetary policy goals of maximum employment and price stability.
  • 😘 Unemployment and inflation have a complex relationship, and historic low unemployment rates have not necessarily led to significant inflation.
  • ✳️ The Federal Reserve closely monitors financial stability risks and implements policies to strengthen the financial system.

Transcript

Transcript of Chair Powell's Press Conference March 17, 2021 CHAIR POWELL. Good afternoon. I would like to start by noting that it has been a full year since the pandemic arrived with force on our shores. Looking back, it was clear that addressing a fast-moving global pandemic would be plainly and primarily the realm of health-care providers and ex... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How does the persistently high pandemic unemployment affect the expected increase in inflation?

There is a limited relationship between unemployment and inflation, and historically low unemployment rates have not led to troubling inflation. Companies have absorbed wage increases into their margins rather than passing them on to consumers. Any increase in inflation is expected to be temporary.

Q: Does the Federal Reserve have concerns about financial stability risks?

The Federal Reserve closely monitors financial conditions and potential risks to the stability of the financial system. While certain assets may be elevated, overall financial conditions remain accommodative. The Federal Reserve maintains a strong focus on ensuring the strength and resilience of the financial system.

Q: Are supply chain bottlenecks improving or worsening, and how might they affect prices?

It is difficult to say with certainty, but supply chain bottlenecks are expected to emerge and then clear over time. The market will adjust, and while some price increases may occur, most companies tend to be reluctant to pass on those increases to consumers. The dynamics of supply and demand will determine the extent of price impacts.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Chair Powell acknowledged the progress in the U.S. economic recovery but emphasized that the recovery remains uneven and uncertain. He highlighted the importance of ongoing fiscal support and the successful control of the virus through vaccination efforts for a full economic recovery.

  • He discussed the positive impact of fiscal policy in preventing further economic damage and expressed the need for long-term investment to boost productivity and raise living standards.

  • Powell highlighted the relationship between low unemployment and inflation, stating that low rates alone do not necessarily lead to high inflation. He emphasized the Federal Reserve's commitment to achieving its maximum employment and price stability goals and stated that interest rates will remain low until those goals are met.

  • He addressed concerns about financial stability risks and stated that the Federal Reserve closely monitors and regulates the financial system to ensure its strength and resilience.

  • Powell acknowledged the impact of pent-up demand and excess savings on inflation but emphasized that any increase in inflation is expected to be transitory, with inflation expectations anchored around 2 percent.

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