At the Jackson Hole economic symposium, Fed’s Chair Jerome Powell stated that the Fed could start tapering its current $120 billion asset purchases this year as the central bank is carefully assessing the risks from the Covid-19 Delta variant, while seeing interest rate hikes are still ways off.
As investors speculate on the asset tapering to give some signal on changes in policy rate, Powell cautioned that a move to start tapering asset purchases should not be interpreted as a sign that rate hikes would soon follow.
The Fed has been keeping policy rate at a record low, which is near zero, even with an increase on the inflation rate that is said to be only a temporary hike.
“Inflation at these levels is, of course, a cause for concern. But that concern is tempered by a number of factors that suggest that these elevated readings are likely to prove temporary,” said Powell.
Still, the statement did not give a specific date on the beginning of tapering.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 242.68 points or 0.69% at 35,455.80 points. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 rose 0.88% and the Nasdaq increased 1.23%.