Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday that inflation is beginning to ease though he expects it to be a long process.
“The disinflationary process, the process of getting inflation down, has begun and it’s begun in the goods sector, which is about a quarter of our economy,” the central bank chief said during an event in Washington, D.C. “But it has a long way to go. These are the very early stages.”
Powell spoke Wednesday in a question-and-answer session at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.
Markets turned positive as Powell spoke as investors are hoping the Fed soon will halt the aggressive interest rate hikes it began last year. At its most recent meeting, which concluded six days ago, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rate a quarter percentage point, the eighth increase since March 2022, to a target range of 4.5%-4.75%.
In this remarks Tuesday, he gave no indication of when the hikes will stop, and said it probably will take into 2024 before inflation gets to a point where the Fed feels comfortable. The central bank targets 2% inflation, and it’s currently running well in excess of that by multiple measures.
“We expect 2023 to be a year of significant declines in inflation. It’s actually our job to make sure that that’s the case,” he said. “My guess is it will take certainly into not just this year, but next year to get down close to 2%.”
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