WASHINGTON, Nov 2 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Thursday tapped Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell to become head of the U.S. central bank, promoting a soft-spoken centrist to replace Janet Yellen when her term expires in February 2018.
In five years as a Fed Governor Jerome Powell has been a consistent, middle of the road voice, backing the consensus crafted by Fed chair Janet Yellen that interest rates should be raised slowly so labor markets could recover, that financial stability risks were muted, and that new regulations had made the economy safer.
Following is a collection of quotes from select policy speeches he has delivered since 2015:
On Rates: “The financial crisis did significant damage to the productive capacity of our economy, and the damage was of a character, extent, and duration that cannot be fully known today…It seems plausible that at least part of this supply-side damage could be reversed if the economy enjoys a period of sustained growth.4 To encourage that outcome, as monetary policymakers consider removing accommodation, we should look for a little more proof than usual that labor markets are tightening or other supply-side constraints are binding.”
- April 2015 speech to New York Council on Foreign Relations: On Financial Stability: “The bottom line is that there has not been an excessive buildup of leverage, maturity transformation, or broadly unsustainable asset prices…Overall, I do not see leveraged finance markets as posing undue financial stability risks. And if risk-taking does not threaten financial stability, it is not the Fed’s job to stop people from losing (or making) money.”
- January 2017 speech to American Finance Association, Chicago On Regulation: “We have substantially increased the capital, liquidity, and other prudential requirements for large banking firms. These measures are not free. Higher capital requirements increase bank costs, and at least some of those costs will be passed along to bank customers and shareholders. But in the longer term, stronger prudential requirements for large banking firms will produce more sustainable credit availability and economic growth.”
- June 2017 speech to Salzburg Global Seminar, Salzburg, Austria On the Current Economy: “Risks to the forecast now seem more balanced than they have been for some time. In particular, the global picture has brightened as growth and inflation have broadly moved up for the first time in several years. Here at home, risks seem both moderate and balanced, including the downside risk of lower inflation and the upside risk of labor market overheating. The Committee has been patient in raising rates, and that patience has paid dividends…. If the economy performs about as expected, I would view it as appropriate to continue to gradually raise rates.”
- June 2017 speech to the Economic Club of New York Other issues may confront Powell in his confirmation hearings and as chair, such as whether to keep the current system of paying banks interest on their reserves as the main method of setting short term interest rates, and whether to rely on monetary policy rules: On Reserve Interest:
“Simple to operate and has provided good control over the federal funds rate.”
- June 2017 speech to the Economic Club of New York On Policy Rules:
“I am unable to think of any critical, complex human activity that could be safely reduced to a simple summary equation. In particular, no major central bank uses policy rules in a prescriptive way, and it is hard to predict the consequences of requiring the FOMC to do so, as some have proposed. Policy should be systematic, but not automatic.”
- February 2017 speech to the Forecasters Club of New York
Reporting by Howard Schneider; Graphics by Dan Burns