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US rate hikes could slow ‘as soon as’ December: Fed chair

US Federal Reserve Bank Board Chairman Jerome Powell answers reporters questions during a news conference following a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FMOC) at the bank headquarters on November 02, 2022 in Washington, DC. — AFP/File
US Federal Reserve Bank Board Chairman Jerome Powell answers reporters’ questions during a news conference following a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FMOC) at the bank headquarters on November 02, 2022 in Washington, DC. — AFP/File

WASHINGTON: The US central bank could ease its pace of interest rate hikes “as soon as” December, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday, as its campaign to cool prices trickles through the economy.

With American households grappling with soaring consumer costs, the Fed has waged an all-out battle to tame inflation not seen since the 1980s — while trying to avoid tipping the world’s biggest economy into a recession.

“The time for moderating the pace of rate increases may come as soon as the December meeting,” Powell said in a speech on Wednesday at the Brookings Institution, referring to an upcoming gathering of policymakers.

He added that the full effects of the Fed’s moves are yet to be felt, but also warned that policy will likely have to remain tight for some time to restore price stability.

The central bank has raised the benchmark lending rate by 0.75 percentage points four consecutive times in recent months, out of six rate hikes this year in an aggressive effort to rein in prices.


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