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Monetary Policy Report presented to Congress
Yesterday, Fed Chair Powell presented the Federal Reserve Board's semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the House Committee on Financial Services.
Powell first reviewed the current economic situation and noted that the current economic expansion, which is the longest on record, is in its 11th year. Job gains averaged 200,000 per month in the second half of last year, and an additional 225,000 jobs were added in January. The gross domestic product rose at a moderate rate over the second half of last year. Growth in consumer spending moderated toward the end of the year following earlier strong increases, but the fundamentals supporting household spending remain solid. Residential investment turned up in the second half, but business investment and exports were weak, largely reflecting sluggish growth abroad and trade developments.
He addressed monetary policy and reported that over the second half of 2019, the FOMC shifted to a more accommodative stance of monetary policy to cushion the economy from weaker global growth and trade developments and to promote a faster return of inflation to our symmetric 2 percent objective. The Fed Board and FOMC lowered the federal funds target range at its July, September, and October meetings, bringing the current target range to 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 percent.