By Howard Schneider and Ann Saphir JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. (Reuters) – Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has begun putting his stamp on the U.S. central bank as someone who will rely more on data-informed judgement and less on some of the models and theoretical values that have shaped the Fed’s course in recent years but that Powell has said can be false guides. In doing so he may be laying the groundwork for a longer-than-expected rate-increase cycle, as discussion intensifies among policymakers about what level of borrowing costs is appropriate in an economy that is nearly back to full health. In addition, the full stimulative effects of President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and increased government spending may not yet have presented themselves. On the other hand, while the drag that many businesses fear could result from uncertain trade policy has not materialized, if it does it could force an earlier end to the Fed’s rate-hike cycle. Such two-way concerns are unfamiliar territory for a Fed that under Powell’s immediate predecessors had to focus mostly on just one kind of risk: too-low inflation and sub-par growth. Now, with unemployment at 3.9 percent – below what most economists believe is sustainable –… Read full this story
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