Powell, addressing reporters after the Fed's final meeting of a turbulent decade, predicted smoother sailing next year as Trump gears up to face voters. He said monetary policymakers "expect moderate growth to continue," at a slowed but still healthy 2% pace. Indeed, the Fed's official statement - accompanying the announcement it is holding the benchmark interest rate steady between 1.5 and 1.75% - dropped its mention of "uncertainties" facing the economic outlook.


Powell's presentation marked a heel turn from earlier this year. Stocks tanked in July after Powell described the Fed's first interest rate cut in a decade as a "mid-cycle adjustment," because investors interpreted the remark as a signal the relief monetary policymakers were providing was only temporary. Now, however, "the cuts look much more permanent," Grant Thornton chief economist Diane Swonk wrote in a note. "The vote to hold rates unchanged was unanimous, the first time that all agreed on what the Fed should be doing since May 2019."


"Markets liked Mr. Powell's assertion that he would want to see a 'significant' and 'persistent' increase in inflation before he would want to raise rates, and he again drew attention to the undershoot to the target in recent years," Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Sheperdson wrote in a note. "Mr. Powell's view is not shared by all his colleagues, given that most of them expect rates to rise slightly over the next three years while core inflation is expected to be little changed. But markets put much more weight on the views of the Chair; that's probably the right approach."

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