3 officials sworn in at Federal Reserve, as governing board reaches full strength
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell swore in three members of the central bank’s governing board Wednesday, including Philip Jefferson as vice chair and Adriana Kugler to fill a vacant seat as the central bank’s first Latina governor.
Biden, congressional leaders likely to meet Tuesday for talks on raising the debt limit
President Joe Biden says he and congressional leaders will likely resume talks on Tuesday at the White House over the debt limit as the nation continues to edge closer to its legal borrowing authority with no agreement in sight.
White House, states tackle 'junk fees' that cost consumers
The White House has brought together state lawmakers, federal officials and others for a virtual meeting where participants traded ideas about how to fight “junk fees” that inflate the cost to consumers for everything from hospital visits and airline tickets to student loans and concert seats.
Fed signals more aggressive steps to fight inflation
Federal Reserve officials are signaling that they will take a more aggressive approach to fighting high inflation in the coming months — actions that will make borrowing sharply more expensive for consumers and businesses and heighten risks to the economy.
Climate change a rising Fed concern as nominees face hearing
How far the Federal Reserve can go to compel banks to consider the consequences of climate change in their lending policies could take center stage at a Senate hearing Thursday on the nominations of Sarah Bloom Raskin and two economists to the Fed’s influential Board of Governors.
Biden nominates 3 for Fed board, including first Black woman
President Joe Biden nominated three people for the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, including Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former Fed and Treasury official, for the top regulatory slot and Lisa Cook, who would be the first Black woman to serve on the board.
Biden to keep Powell as Fed chair, Brainard gets vice chair
President Joe Biden announced he’s nominating Jerome Powell for a second term as Federal Reserve chair, endorsing Powell’s stewardship of the economy through a brutal pandemic recession in which the Fed’s ultra-low rate policies helped bolster confidence and revitalize the job market.
A potential Powell renomination for Fed faces some dissent
Resistance to the potential renomination of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell intensified this week, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren becoming the first senator to publicly oppose Powell and many progressive groups pushing for some alternative leader at the Fed.
Rosengren: Fed should begin slowing stimulus efforts by fall
The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston added his voice to a growing number of people, inside and outside the Fed, who say the central bank should soon begin to dial back its extraordinary aid for an economy that is strongly recovering from the pandemic recession.
Why the pandemic left long-term scars on global job market
But when the pandemic slammed the U.S. economy a year ago, it swept away her job — and millions of others. Getting back the jobs lost to the pandemic is likely to prove a struggle. Even as viral vaccines increasingly promise a return to something close to normal life, the coronavirus seems sure to leave permanent scars on the job market. Millions of jobs lost likely won't come back — especially at employers that require face-to-face contact with consumers: Hotels, restaurants, retailers, entertainment venues. Jamison wonders whether the front desk operation will eventually be eliminated, the jobs lost as guests use keys on their smartphones to go straight to their rooms.
Why the pandemic left long-term scars on global job market
Even as viral vaccines increasingly promise a return to something close to normal life, the coronavirus seems sure to leave permanent scars on the job market. No one knows exactly what the job market will look like when the virus finally ends its rampage. The U.S. Labor Department, too, has tried to estimate the pandemic’s likely impact on the job market. Before taking the pandemic into account, the department last year projected that U.S. jobs would grow 3.7% between 2019 and 2029. “At this point," she said, “they have to move on with their lives.”Jamison wonders whether the front desk operation will eventually be eliminated altogether, the jobs lost to automation.
Asian shares track Wall St decline as bond yields rebound
Asian shares fell Thursday, tracking a decline on Wall Street as another rise in bond yields rattled investors who worry that higher inflation may prompt central banks to raise ultra-low interest rates. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)BANGKOK – Asian shares fell Thursday, tracking a decline on Wall Street as another rise in bond yields rattled investors who worry that higher inflation may prompt central banks to raise ultra-low interest rates. Shares have yoyo'd recently with fluctuations in bond yields. When yields rise quickly, as they have in recent weeks, it forces Wall Street to rethink the value of stocks. U.S. government bond yields rose Wednesday after easing a day earlier.
Asian shares advance despite Wall Street retreat
Stocks advanced in Asia on Wednesday after a wobbly day on Wall Street, when the S&P 500 gave back most of its gains from a day earlier. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)BEIJING – Stocks advanced in Asia on Wednesday after a wobbly day on Wall Street, when the S&P 500 gave back most of its gains from a day earlier. Investors have taken heart from an easing in bond prices that has alleviated worries over possible interest rate hikes. But expectations for stronger economic growth in coming months continue to fuel worries that interest rates will head higher. Higher interest rates force investors to rethink how much they’re willing to pay for stocks, making each $1 of profit that companies earn a little less valuable.
Asian stocks mixed after Wall St. rises
A man walks past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange in Hong Kong Tuesday, March 2, 2021. Asian stock markets were mixed Tuesday after Wall Street rose as investor concern about possible higher interest rates receded. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)TOKYO – Asian stock markets were mixed Tuesday after Wall Street rose as a wave of investor concern about possible higher interest rates receded. Market benchmarks in Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong declined. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.2% to 29,405.45.
Powell signals Fed will keep aiding economy with bond buying
Powell also stressed that the Fed probably won't raise its rate until inflation has topped 2% for some time. The speculation was fueled by comments from several regional Fed bank presidents, including Raphael Bostic of the Atlanta Fed and Robert Kaplan of Dallas. Bostic said last week that he was “hopeful that in fairly short order we can start to recalibrate” the bond purchases. And Lael Brainard, another governor, said Wednesday that the current level of bond buying “will remain appropriate for quite some time.”Some regional Fed bank presidents have signaled that any reduction in bond purchases is probably a long way off. Still, Powell also said he was quite optimistic that the economy would rebound later this year, once COVID-19 vaccines are widely distributed.
Fed transcripts show doubts about need for 2015 rate hike
Newly released transcripts show that many Federal Reserve officials had concerns in late 2015 over whether they were making a mistake in raising a key interest rate for the first time in nearly decade. Fed board member Lael Brainard also expressed doubts about the need for a rate hike given the low inflation, but said she would go along with the modest increase. That increase was followed by three quarter-point rate increases in 2017 as economic growth increased and the unemployment rate fell further. The Fed raised rates four times in 2018 after Yellen was replaced by Jerome Powell as Fed chair by President Donald Trump. Trump launched an unprecedented attack on the Fed’s rate hikes fearing negative affect on economic growth, breaking with the practice of past presidents to respect the Fed’s independence.
Senate confirms Christopher Waller to serve on Fed's board
WASHINGTON – The Senate on Thursday narrowly confirmed the nomination of Christopher Waller for the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors, placing another of President Donald Trump's picks on the Fed's influential board after a string of high-profile rejections. Waller had won some Democratic votes when the Senate Banking Committee approved his nomination in July. And some worried that Waller would agree with the Fed's recent moves to loosen regulations on large banks. With Waller's confirmation by the Senate, four of the Fed's six governors have now been chosen by Trump. Trump’s two previous picks for the Fed's board, Stephen Moore and Herman Cain, ran into so much opposition that they withdrew from consideration before their nominations came before the Senate.
Biden says he's decided on treasury secretary nomination
WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday that he has decided whom to nominate as his secretary of the Treasury Department. Either would be the first woman to serve as treasury secretary. Both Bostic and Ferguson are Black, and either would be the first Black treasury secretary. Brainard also advised President Bill Clinton and was floated as a potential treasury secretary if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election. He says, “They all acknowledge this is going to take a massive education campaign.”Biden’s treasury secretary would lead his economic team as many businesses and Americans struggle while the pandemic continues.
Fed's Brainard urges greater diversity in field of economics
WASHINGTON – A Federal Reserve official widely considered a front-runner to be tapped as President-elect Joe Biden's Treasury Secretary is urging universities and government agencies to make the field of economics more inclusive. Lael Brainard, a member of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, noted Tuesday that the economics field is less diverse than other professions, such as law and medicine. Brainard noted that black women earned just 1.5% of undergraduate economics degrees from 2011 through 2015, far below their 6.2% share of all undergraduate degrees. Brainard was Treasury undersecretary for international affairs under President Barack Obama and was also an economic adviser to President Bill Clinton. She has served on the Fed's board since 2014 and was previously mentioned as a potential Treasury Secretary if Hillary Clinton had been elected in 2016.
Fed survey finds tepid growth as US economy battles pandemic
The Fed report made public Wednesday said that the pace of activity varied greatly among sectors of the U.S. economy. “Restaurants in many districts expressed concern that cooler weather would slow sales as they have relied on outdoor dining,” the Fed report said. The Fed survey said that businesses reported only modest price increases with “notable exceptions.” Prices were up significantly for things such as food, autos and appliances, a development that has been linked to shortages stemming from the coronavirus. The Fed report was based on responses gathered by the Fed's 12 regional banks before Oct. 9. Congress so far has been unable to reach a compromise and provide another package of economic support for individuals and businesses.
Europe's central bank moves toward introducing digital euro
The central bank issued a comprehensive report outlining the reasons why it might need to take the step. It said no decision has been made, and that any digital euro would complement cash, not replace it. We should be prepared to issue a digital euro, should the need arise.”A digital euro would be different from current cashless payment systems run by the private sector because it would be official central bank money - trustable, risk-free and likely less expensive to use. A central bank digital currency could also be used offline, for instance, to transfer small amounts between individuals using digital wallets on their smartphones and a Bluetooth connection. China’s central bank is already testing an official digital currency, while the central bank of Sweden says it has initiated a pilot project.
Federal Reserve to meet after sharp changes to its outlook
WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve policymakers will meet this week for the first time since they significantly revised the Fed's operating framework in ways that will likely keep short-term interest rates near zero for years to come. As a result, analysts expect the Fed will keep its benchmark rate unchanged after the two-day meeting that ends Wednesday. Analysts expect they will show that the Fed foresees keeping its benchmark rate at nearly zero through 2023. Instead, low unemployment and even rising wages no longer necessarily push up inflation, Fed officials believe. With most consumers and businesses accustomed to mild price increases, they have adjusted their behavior in ways that act to keep inflation low.
Fed wrestles with its next moves as virus stalls US economy
Economists call such an approach forward guidance, and the Fed used it extensively after the 2008-2009 recession. The Fed probably won't provide such guidance until its next meeting in September, economists say. Some Fed watchers expect no rate increase until 2024 at the earliest given their bleak outlook for the economy and expectations of continued ultra-low inflation. The Fed also launched nine lending programs to enable businesses and Wall Street banks to borrow at low rates. In recent speeches and appearances, Fed policymakers have sounded largely pessimistic about the economy.