Powell Says Taper Could Start in 2021, With No Rush on Rate Hike (Could, Not Would)

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank could begin reducing its monthly bond purchases this year, though it won’t be in a hurry to begin raising interest rates thereafter.

That is COULD, not WOULD.

At the Fed’s most recent policy meeting in late July, “I was of the view, as were most participants, that if the economy evolved broadly as anticipated, it could be appropriate to start reducing the pace of asset purchases this year,” Powell said.

“The intervening month has brought more progress in the form of a strong employment report for July, but also the further spread of the delta variant,” he said. “We will be carefully assessing incoming data and the evolving risks.”

At the July Federal Open Market Committee meeting, most Fed officials agreed it would probably be appropriate to begin tapering the central bank’s $120-billion-a-month bond-buying program before the end of the year, according to a record of the gathering. Some are pushing for a move as soon as next month.

Monetary policy makers would like to conclude the purchases before officials begin raising interest rates, and several in June saw a possible need for rate increases as early as 2022 amid inflation that is running above the central bank’s 2% target. The Fed cut its benchmark rate to nearly zero and relaunched the crisis-era purchase program last year at the onset of the pandemic.

To quote the hunter from Jurassic Park, “Clever girl.” Rather than announce a hard taper and rate increase, Powell just hinted at a taper and rate increase.

Here is a photo of Fed Chair Powell being watched by Wall Street.

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