(Adds more remarks from Clarida)
Nov 1 (Reuters) - The three rate cuts passed by the Federal Reserve this year leave the U.S. economy better armed to withstand the risks of a global slowdown, Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida said on Friday, further supporting the case for keeping rates steady for now.
Clarida pointed to positive reports on employment and housing as evidence that the U.S. economy is “resilient” to potential headwinds from the trade war and slower growth abroad.
“We’ve done the adjustment,” Clarida said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “I would be less optimistic on the economy if we had not made those 75 basis point adjustments.”
Clarida said the Fed was working to extend the longest U.S. economic recovery on record. Officials voted this week to lower its benchmark rate by a quarter percentage point to a range of 1.50% to 1.75%, a move Clarida said could have a greater influence on the economy at the end of this year and in the first quarter of 2020.
The policymaker made it clear he thinks the U.S. expansion still has room to run, saying the economy is not late in the business cycle and that the consumer has “never been in better shape.”
But he said officials would continue to watch the data and consider more easing if there were to be disappointing reports on employment, inflation and growth.
When asked about the Fed’s purchases of short-term Treasury bills, which are meant to increase liquidity in the banking system, Clarida called the program “Central Banking 101.”
“This is not QE,” he said. “If central banks did not organically grow their balance sheets there would be liquidity problems.” (Reporting by Jonnelle Marte Editing by Mark Heinrich)