November 1, 2019 / 5:06 PM / a month ago

Clarida says U.S. economy, Fed policy 'in a good place'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve’s three interest rate cuts this year have provided “significant support” for the U.S. economy whose full effects are yet to be felt, Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida said on Friday, elaborating on the case for why the central bank is likely to remain on hold for now.

FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida talks on the phone during the three-day "Challenges for Monetary Policy" conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, U.S., August 23, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Crosby/File Photo

The full scope of Fed changes, including a move away from expected rate hikes to three successive rate cuts, “are providing - and will continue to provide - meaningful support to the economy,” Clarida said in remarks prepared for delivery at the Japan Society in New York. “The economy is in a good place, and monetary policy is in a good place.”

“The full effects of these adjustments on economic growth, the job market, and inflation will be realized over time. We see the current stance of monetary policy as likely to remain appropriate as long as incoming information about the economy remains broadly consistent with our outlook of moderate economic growth, a strong labor market, and inflation near our symmetric 2 percent objective,” he said.

The Fed at its policy meeting this week reduced its target overnight interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a level of between 1.50% and 1.75%, its third reduction this year.

Clarida noted the continued risks to the U.S. economy from slowing growth abroad, particularly that a weakened world economy would suppress U.S. exports.

But for now, he said, the Fed expects U.S. growth to continue.

U.S. employment data on Friday showed stronger-than-expected job growth in September, bolstering the Fed’s case that its rate cuts to date are adequate to keep growth on track.

“Growth has been supported by the continued strength of household consumption, underpinned, in turn, by a thriving labor market ... There is no sign that cost-push pressures are putting excessive upward force on price inflation,” Clarida said.

Addressing one other argument for rate cuts - that it would weaken the value of the dollar and boost U.S. exports, an argument made by President Donald Trump - Clarida said a cheaper dollar wouldn’t necessarily do much for U.S. sales abroad, given the state of world growth.

“The value of the dollar does not appear to play much of a role in explaining ... the sharp slowdown in U.S. exports over the past year,” Clarida said. “The current level of the trade-weighted dollar is about where it has been, on average, over the past few years.”

Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Paul Simao

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