Powell Says Fed Will ‘Keep Pushing’ Until Inflation Comes Down

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, in his most hawkish remarks to date, said the US central bank will keep raising interest rates until there is “clear and convincing” evidence that inflation is in retreat.

“What we need to see is inflation coming down in a clear and convincing way, and we’re going to keep pushing until we see that,” Powell said Tuesday during a Wall Street Journal live event. “If that involves moving past broadly understood levels of ‘neutral,’ we won’t hesitate at all to do that.”

The Fed chair repeatedly stressed the need to curb the hottest inflation in decades during the roughly 35-minute interview, calling price stability “the bedrock of the economy” and acknowledging that some pain in achieving this -- including a slight rise in the unemployment rate -- was a cost worth paying in order to achieve it.

Powell and his colleagues on the central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee voted to raise their benchmark rate by a half-percentage point at a policy meeting earlier this month, and the chair at the time suggested to reporters that hikes of similar magnitudes would be on the table at their next two meetings in June and July. He repeated that guidance Tuesday, while adding that near-term inflation developments would be a critical determinant of the size of coming moves.