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Fidelity comments on Jerome Powell’s appointment as Fed chair

Jerome Powell’s appointment as Fed chair represents policy continuity in the near-term, suggesting a slightly easier monetary stance than some other contenders for the role.

Powell’s background is in Law, rather than Economics. Unlike recent Fed chairs such as Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen, he has not advanced any theory or suggestion that could be relevant to monetary policy thinking, whether in his public speeches or otherwise. He has tended to stick to the Fed’s consensual ‘party line’. This suggests - even more so than in recent years - that the Fed will be consensus-driven, rather than reflecting the views of Powell or his closest associates. In the near-term, that suggests a continuation of the very gradual hiking cycle, with risks of a pause in 2018 if inflation remains surprisingly low.

Anna Stupnytska - Global Economist - Fidelity International