The Federal Reserve has no tools to deal with the problem, Jerome Powell says
US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Thursday vowed to do whatever it takes to tackle inflation but admitted he can’t control some cost spikes, including food and prices at the pump.
Powell told the Senate Banking Committee he doesn’t expect gas or grocery prices to fall as a result of the Fed’s campaign of rate hikes.
“There’s really not anything that we can do about oil prices,” Powell said, explaining that “they’re set at the global level.”
According to the Fed chair, the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have added to inflation pressures across the world. He noted that global supply chains are still experiencing strains, which the Fed doesn’t have the tools to address. Surging food prices “would certainly be much lower” if not for the war in Ukraine, Powell stated.
Price pressures have continued to build for months, forcing the US central bank to ramp up its tightening of financial conditions. Last week, the regulator raised rates by three-quarters of a percentage point in its biggest hike since 1994, signaling that the economy is continuing to weaken.
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