Fed’s Powell: Will act ‘when and as’ needed, regardless of election

(Reuters) – U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday said the central bank would make decisions on interest rates “when and as they need to be made” with no consideration to the coming presidential election.

In response to a Republican lawmaker’s question about the possibility of the Fed cutting interest rates at its meeting in mid-September, less than two months before Election Day, Powell said: “Our undertaking is to make decisions when and as they need to be made, based on the data, the incoming data, the evolving outlook and the balance of risks, and not in consideration of other factors, and that would include political factors.”

“We’ll make those decisions,” Powell continued. “We have a long history of doing that, including during election years, and that is the undertaking we will make. Anything we do will be very well grounded. It’s just not appropriate for us to get into the business of thinking about election cycles at all, one way or the other.”

Over Powell’s two days of testimony in the House of Representatives and the Senate, Republican lawmakers asked him several whether the Fed intended to cut rates ahead of the Nov. 5 presidential election.

(Reporting By Dan Burns; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)


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