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Powell vows the Fed is ‘acutely focused’ on reducing inflation

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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks to reporters after the Federal Reserve raised its interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point to curb a devastating rise in inflation, during a press conference after a two-day Committee meeting. Federal Open Market. (FOMC) in Washington, USA, June 15, 2022.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated the central bank’s commitment to curbing inflation, saying Friday that it is essential to the global financial system.

“The Federal Reserve’s strong commitment to our price stability mandate contributes to widespread confidence in the dollar as a value reserve. To that end, my colleagues and I are focused on getting inflation back to our 2 percent target.” said Powell in the introduction. remarks at a Fed-sponsored conference on the global role of the US currency.

These comments come two days after the Federal Open Market Committee voted to raise the key interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point in a target range of 1.5% -1.75%. Banks use the rate to set borrowing costs for short-term loans they give each other, but it also feeds on a host of consumer products like credit cards, home equity loans and vehicle financing.

Inflation has been rising over the past year, with the consumer price index in May recording an increase of 8.6% over the past year.

Fed officials target 2% inflation as healthy for a growing economy and have said they will continue to raise rates until prices return to that range.

As inflation hurts consumers through the prices they pay at the grocery store and gas station, as well as a host of other activities, Powell’s Friday remarks focused on its global financial importance.

“Fulfilling our dual mandate also depends on maintaining financial stability,” Powell said. “The Fed’s commitment to both our dual mandate and financial stability encourages the international community to hold on and use dollars.”

In addition to price stability, the Fed is charged with maintaining full employment.

Powell cited the importance of the dollar in global financing, noting in particular the importance of vehicles such as the one the Fed imposed during the Covid pandemic lending to global central banks in need of liquidity.

He also noted future changes to the global financial system, including the use of digital currencies and payment systems such as FedNow, a service that is expected to come online in 2023.

A digital currency, as discussed by Fed officials, could help support the dollar as a reserve currency in the world, he said.

“Looking ahead, rapid changes are taking place in the global monetary system that could affect the international role of the dollar in the future,” Powell added.

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