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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.
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.