Washington — Chairman Jerome Powell said in an interview broadcast Sunday night that the Federal Reserve remains on track to cut interest rates three times this year, a move that is expected to begin as early as May.
Powell, in an interview recorded Thursday for the CBS news program “60 Minutes,” also said the country’s job market and economy are strong, with no signs of a recession on the horizon.
“I think the economy is in a good place,” he said, “and there’s every reason to think it can get better.”
Powell’s comments largely echoed comments he made at a news conference on Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve decided to hold its key interest rate steady at around 5.4%, a 22-year high. . To combat inflation, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark rate 11 times starting in March 2022, making loans for consumers and businesses much more expensive.
The Federal Reserve chair also reiterated that the central bank’s next meeting in March would likely be too soon for a rate cut. Most economists believe the first cut will likely come in May or June.
Nearly all 19 members of the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting committee have agreed that cuts in the central bank’s key interest rate will be appropriate this year, Powell said in the “60 Minutes” interview. A reduction in that rate would help reduce the cost of mortgages, auto loans, credit cards and other loans for consumers and businesses.
In December, Federal Reserve officials indicated they anticipated three rate cuts this year, reducing their benchmark rate to around 4.6% by the end of the year. Powell told “60 Minutes” that forecast probably still reflected the views of policymakers.