Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Friday he doesn’t “at all” expect the U.S. to enter a recession, though he hinted the central bank will likely cut interest rates as expected this month.
“Our main expectation is not at all that there will be a recession,” Powell said in a panel discussion at the University of Zurich.
“The U.S. economy has continued to perform well and is in a good place,” he said.
He added, however, that the U.S. trade war with China — which has been spearheaded by President Trump — has generated business uncertainty that, along with a slowing global economy, raise the risks of a downturn. As a result, he said, “We’re going to continue to act as appropriate to sustain this expansion.”
That suggests the Fed will likely lower its key interest rate at a September 17-18 meeting after cutting it in late July for the first time in a decade.
He added, “I think is the case that uncertainty around trade policy is causing some companies to hold back on investment.” He also reiterated that the Fed has little experience using interest-policies to combat trade disputes.
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Sixty-nine percent of U.S. chief financial officers expect a recession to begin by the end of next year, according to the latest Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook released in June.
On Friday, Trump continued his year-old campaign to badger Powell and the Fed — initially to cut rates and then to lower them more sharply.
“They were WAY too early to raise, and WAY too late to cut,” Trump tweeted Friday morning. “Where did I find this guy Jerome? Oh well, you can’t win them all!”
Powell declined to directly say whether he was bothered by Trump’s taunts.
”We’re completely and totally focused on our jobs,” he said. “That’s all were going to focus on.”