FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell holds a press conference following a two day Federal Open Market Committee policy meeting in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Sunday the U.S. central bank does “not feel any hurry” to change the level of interest rates again as it watches how a slowing global economy affects local conditions in the United States.
Rates are currently “appropriate,” Powell said in a wide-ranging interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes news show in which he called the current rate level “appropriate” and “roughly neutral,” meaning it is neither stimulating or curbing the economy.
An economic slowdown in China and Europe, and other global issues, currently pose the largest risks to an otherwise healthy U.S. outlook, he said, though even in those place he felt “very negative outcomes” were not likely.
The interview, eight years after former chair Ben Bernanke appeared on the same show to discuss the Fed’s aggressive actions during the deep 2007 to 2009 recession, crossed a range of issues, including the health of the financial system and President Donald Trump’s aggressive criticism of central bank rate hikes.
“The financial crisis did a great deal of damage to many people’s lives. And, of course, not all of them will be made whole,” Powell said. “We tried very hard to learn the lessons of what went wrong and to build a much stronger, more resilient, better capitalized financial system so that it will be more resilient to the kinds of shocks that happen.”
Regarding the president, Powell said that it would not be “appropriate” for him to comment on Trump’s remarks, which included calling the Fed “crazy.”
But he did say that he did not think the president, by law, had the power to fire him over a policy dispute.
Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Marguerita Choy