US Fed taking “wait-and-see” approach on policymaking: chairman


WASHINGTON, Mar 9 (Xinhua) Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Jerome Powell said Friday that the central bank has adopted a “patient, wait-and-see approach” on its monetary policymaking process, while more details about balance sheet normalization were on the way.

Speaking at Stanford University in California, Powell said there is no need to make a quick change to the Fed’s policy. “With nothing in the outlook demanding an immediate policy response and particularly given muted inflation pressures, the committee has adopted a patient, wait-and-see approach to considering any alteration in the stance of policy,” he said.

Although Powell did not elaborate on the Fed’s decision on rate hikes, he noted that the Fed’s balance sheet normalization process would be finished soon.

“The Committee is now well along in our discussions of a plan to conclude balance sheet runoff later this year,” Powell said.

Besides, Powell said that the Fed “will move transparently and predictably” to “minimize needless market disruption.”

The Fed’s balance sheet once hit a peak of 4.5 trillion U.S. dollars. Since October 2017, the Fed has allowed some bonds it held to run off as they matured, slowly and steadily cutting the balance sheet to around 4 trillion dollars.

In January, the Fed temporarily suspended its three-year cycle of rate hikes amid concerns about downside risks. The current target range for the federal funds rate remains at 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent.

The Fed is scheduled to hold its next policy-setting meeting from March 19 to 20, while the market holds its breath, waiting for its next move.