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Nov. 13, 2019, 2:36 p.m. EST

Fed’s Powell signals pause unless there is material change in outlook: Live blog recap

Powell sees rates on hold absent material deterioration in economy

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By Greg Robb and Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch


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Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers fiscal policy would be needed to support economy in any downturn.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress Wednesday that policy is on hold unless there is a meaningful change in the outlook.

Powell said policy isn’t on a preset course but officials think the 3 rate cuts are enough of an insurance policy against downside risks.

Read: Fed’s Powell says interest rates will be on hold absent a material deterioration in economy

The testimony was remarkably friendly with one lawmaker asking “how do we not screw it up?”

Powell took the opportunity to stress policies to boost labor force participation and increase productivity. A higher rate of immigration can help boost productivity, but Powell only briefly mentioned this.

Overall, the testimony leaned a bit dovish, especially when the Fed chairman said the risk from low inflation is greater than high inflation.

Stocks rose steadily during Powell’s testimony, which lasted little more than an hour.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.29%  opened lower but was recently up about 60 points.

MarketWatch senior Washington correspondent Greg Robb (@grobb2000) and reporter Jeffry Bartash (@jbartash) live blogged the testimony. The commentary can be found below.

qpd84bL2BlvFekXX1zoy
/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
27,896.72
-80.12 -0.29%
Volume: 364.41M
Aug. 13, 2020 5:10p
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Greg Robb is a senior reporter for MarketWatch in Washington. Follow him on Twitter @grobb2000. Jeffry Bartash is a reporter for MarketWatch in Washington.

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