Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell confirmed to a national television audience what economists have been predicting for awhile now: The Fed is still on track to cut interest rates at least three times this year.
That’ll be a big switch from the last couple of years, when the Fed raised rates 11 times in the span of 15 months in its effort to fight a stubborn inflation rate.
Rate cuts could come as early as May.
In an interview with the CBS news magazine “60 Minutes,” Powell called the nation’s job market and economy “strong,” with no sign of a recession on the horizon.
“I do think the economy is in a good place,” he told “60 Minutes.” “There’s every reason to think it can get better.”
The Fed chair also reiterated that the central bank’s next meeting in March was likely too soon for a rate cut, according to the Associated Press. Most economists think the first cut is likely to come in May or June.
In the “60 Minutes” interview, Powell acknowledged that “nearly all” the 19 members of the Fed’s policy-setting committee agree that cuts in the central bank’s key interest rate will be appropriate this year. A reduction in that rate would help lower the cost of mortgages, auto loans, credit cards and other consumer and business borrowing.
In December, Fed officials indicated that they envisioned three rate cuts this year, reducing their benchmark rate to about 4.6% by year’s end. Powell told “60 Minutes” that that forecast likely still reflected policymakers’ views, the AP reported.