WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress Tuesday that the outlook for the U.S. economy “remains strong” despite the recent stock market turbulence, keeping the central bank on track to gradually raise interest rates.
Making his first public comments as leader of the nation’s central bank, Powell depicted an economy that was gaining strength and stressed that he intended to follow the approach to interest rates set by his predecessor, Janet Yellen. The Fed boosted its benchmark rate three times last year and has signaled that it expects to raise rates another three times in 2018.
In his statement, Powell praised Yellen for the important contributions she made during her four years as the first woman to lead the Fed. He said the two had worked together to ensure “a smooth leadership transition and provide for continuity in monetary policy.”
Referring to the wild swings in the stock market that occurred earlier this month, Powell said the Fed does “not see these developments as weighing heavily on the outlook for economic activity, the labor market and inflation.”
Powell, who President Donald Trump appointed, took office on Feb. 5.