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Thursday, October 19, 2023

Fed Chair Powell: "Inflation is still too high", expects "a period of below-trend growth"

by Calculated Risk on 10/19/2023 12:00:00 PM

Speech by Chair Powell on the economic outlook. Excerpts:

Inflation readings turned lower over the summer, a very favorable development. The September inflation data continued the downward trend but were somewhat less encouraging. Shorter-term measures of core inflation over the most recent three and six months are now running below 3 percent. But these shorter-term measures are often volatile. In any case, inflation is still too high, and a few months of good data are only the beginning of what it will take to build confidence that inflation is moving down sustainably toward our goal. We cannot yet know how long these lower readings will persist, or where inflation will settle over coming quarters. While the path is likely to be bumpy and take some time, my colleagues and I are united in our commitment to bringing inflation down sustainably to 2 percent.
To date, declining inflation has not come at the cost of meaningfully higher unemployment—a highly welcome development, but a historically unusual one. Healing of supply chains in conjunction with the rebalancing of demand and supply in the labor market has allowed disinflation without substantially weaker economic activity. Indeed, economic growth has consistently surprised to the upside this year, as most recently seen in the strong retail sales data released earlier this week. Forecasters generally expect gross domestic product to come in very strong for the third quarter before cooling off in the fourth quarter and next year. Still, the record suggests that a sustainable return to our 2 percent inflation goal is likely to require a period of below-trend growth and some further softening in labor market conditions.
emphasis added