United States dollar climbs in tepid response after blockbuster jobs report

United States dollar climbs in tepid response after blockbuster jobs report

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Friday that policymakers at the US central bank are closely watching the economy and markets for signs of a global growth downturn to determine when - or if - they'll hike the benchmark federal funds rate in 2019. "We are always prepared to shift the stance of policy and to shift it significantly" if needed. That suggests the Fed won't tighten again in March, she said.

A new jobs report on Friday showed United States employers added more than 300,000 jobs in December - well above expectations.

The president has accused Powell of hurting the economy by raising interest rates.

The Fed's policy committee raised the benchmark lending rate four times last year but signaled last month it expected only two increases this year, rather than three. "Average hourly earnings moved up and that's quite welcome and also for me at this time does not raise concerns about too-high inflation", he said.

"Patience is the right approach", when the Fed is getting conflicting signals from the hard data, which is backward-looking, and the financial markets, which are looking ahead to downside risks, said Kohn, now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

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Powell replied "no" when directly asked if he would step down if the president requested it during an appearance at a roundtable in Atlanta at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association.

But, he said, "If we reached a different conclusion we wouldn't hesitate to make a change".

"We've been willing to revisit our views, very much willing to revisit our views, of what the natural rate is, and also our understanding of what it is", Powell said.

The commander-in-chief has also ripped the Fed on Twitter and in interviews.

Powell had been sitting next to former Federal Reserve chairmen Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke when he was asked about his impending meetings with the President regarding Fed policy, which the President has emphasized in the past as the number one problem with the economy.

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