Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said inflation had picked up but should move back toward the U.S. central bank’s 2% target once supply imbalances resolve.
“Inflation has increased notably in recent months,” Powell said in written remarks prepared for his Tuesday testimony before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, citing increases in oil prices and a “rebound” in spending as the U.S. economy re-opens.
“As these transitory supply effects abate, inflation is expected to drop back toward our longer-run goal,” he said.
Powell’s remarks were largely a repeat of his opening comments at his June 16 press conference, following a policy meeting of the central bank.
Fed officials surprised investors last week when their forecasts showed they pulled forward their expected timing and pace of interest-rate increases, while also kicking off a discussion of when to taper asset purchases.
The quarterly projections showed 13 of 18 officials favored at least one rate increase by the end of 2023, versus seven in March. Eleven officials saw at least two hikes by the end of that year. In addition, seven of them saw a move as early as 2022, up from four. The projections also showed that officials’ sense of risk and uncertainty around their inflation forecasts moved higher.
Powell continued to sound optimistic on the outlook for employment.
“Job gains should pick up in coming months as vaccinations rise, easing some of the pandemic-related factors currently weighing them down,” he said.