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Fed’s Harker Holds Outlook Steady

For immediate release
Contact: Daneil Mazone, E-mail Media Relations, 215-574-7163

Vineland, NJ — Citing the “persistent Fed mantra of data dependency,” Philadelphia Fed President Patrick T. Harker kept his outlook in line with that of recent weeks. In remarks to the Greater Vineland Chamber of Commerce, Harker reiterated a frequent message that “it’s important to take a medium-term view, and not let one report or data series derail an outlook,” stressing that “it’s important to be patient as the data roll in. …”

Harker forecast unemployment continuing to edge down in 2019, inflation averaging slightly higher than the Fed’s preferred 2 percent target for this year and next, and GDP growth “a bit above 2 percent for 2019, and around 2 percent next year, which I see as trend.” He noted that while some call that growth rate disappointing, “it’s important to remember that we’re on track for the longest economic expansion on record, and it’s coming in the context of very low unemployment and low and stable inflation. In that setting, continued steady growth is not what I’d call ‘disappointing.’ ”

Harker said he is keeping an eye on potential risks, but that “Ultimately, my views are shaped by multiple indicators, and there are certainly aspects of the economy — the strength of the labor market, for instance — that point to a fundamentally sound U.S. economy.”

“Accounting for all those factors — a strong labor market, muted inflation, sustained moderate growth, and the penumbra of uncertainty — I continue to be in wait-and-see mode, and my outlook for rates remains, at most, one hike for 2019 and one for 2020.”

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