Powell says outlook strong, signaling gradual rate hikes
WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, making his first public comments as leader of the nation's central bank, is telling Congress that the outlook for the U.S. economy "remains strong" despite the recent stock market turbulence.
He says that bright prospects for growth and employment will allow the Fed to continue raising its key policy rate at a gradual pace. The Fed boosted its benchmark rate three times last year and has signaled that it expects to raise rates another three times in 2018.
In a prepared statement, Powell praises Janet Yellen for the important contributions she made during her four years as the first woman to lead the Fed. He says the two worked together to ensure "a smooth leadership transition and provide for continuity in monetary policy."