Washington, Feb 6 (IANS) Jerome Powell took the oath of office on Monday as Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, succeeding Janet Yellen.
“Today, unemployment is low, the economy is growing, and inflation is low. Through our decisions on monetary policy, we will support continued economic growth, a healthy job market, and price stability,” said Powell after being sworn in to lead the US central bank, Xinhua news agency reported.
Powell, who is the 16th person to hold the position, was nominated by US President Donald Trump in November last year. US Senate approved him in late January to lead the central bank in a term of four years.
“My colleagues and I will remain vigilant, and we are prepared to respond to evolving risks,” Powell said.
The new Fed head faces an immediate challenge from the wobbly market, as the US stocks opened sharply lower on Monday after a heavy sell-off on Friday.
One of the worries from the market is that the Fed, under Powell, will accelerate its interest rate hikes, undermining the momentum of a bull market. Economists widely expect the Fed to hike interest rates three times this year, with the first coming in March.
In his confirmation hearing at the Senate Banking Committee in November, Powell indicated that he would continue the gradual monetary policy normalisation strategy laid out by his predecessor Yellen.
Powell’s another challenge is from Yellen’s final regulation act. The Fed told Wells Fargo on Friday that the bank will be restricted from growing any larger than its total asset size as of the end of 2017 due to consumer abuses.
“We cannot tolerate pervasive and persistent misconduct at any bank,” said Yellen, who rejected President Trump’s deregulation rhetoric.
“I am also pleased to report that our financial system is now far stronger and more resilient than it was before the financial crisis that began about a decade ago. We intend to keep it that way,” Powell said in a statement on Monday.