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"Correct" path for FOMC is gradual rate increases, says Fed Governor Powell

Federal Reserve Board Governor Jerome Powell voiced supportfor the continued low interest rate environment fostered and supported by theFederal Open Market Committee.

Powell is a member of the FOMC and was a keynote speaker atthe Community Banking in the 21st Century Research and Policy Conference,jointly hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the Conference ofState Bank Supervisors on Sept. 29.

Powell said the economy is in "solid shape" andcontinues to gradually improve, and the FOMC can afford to be patient with itsrate increases. He cited U.S. inflation rates that have been below target forthe last five years during weaker global growth and pockets of deflationaryforces.

"I do support if we remain on essentially the currentpath," he said. "It seems to me [that] the correct path going forwardwill be a path of gradual rate increases, so that will depend on the economycontinuing to perform well, which is how I see it performing now."

His comments echoed the language from the after thecommittee decided to hold rates steady at a range between 25 basis points and50 basis points. The tone of the decision remained dovish, but three membersdissented, wanting to push rates incrementally higher; Powell was not one ofthem.