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Biden to Meet Powell to Discuss Economy as Inflation Bites

US President Joe Biden.(Photo: EPA-EFE / JIM LO SCALZO)

President Joe Biden will hold a rare Oval office meeting on Tuesday with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell amid the highest inflation in decades, which has angered Americans and hurt his standing with voters.

The two will discuss the state of the American and global economy, according to a White House statement. It’s the first meeting between the two since Biden in November announced his intention to nominate Powell for a second term at the helm of the US central bank, according to a record of the Fed chief’s public schedule which is available through March.

Data released Friday showed the Fed’s preferred gauge of price pressures, the personal consumption expenditures price index, rose by 6.3% last month from April 2021 — more than three times the Fed’s 2% target. The data also showed US consumer spending holding up as households dip into savings.

Fed officials raised interest rates by a half-percentage point earlier this month and Powell has signaled they plan to follow up with increases of the same size in June and July to cool price pressures, even as they start shrinking their massive balance sheet

Concern over how aggressively the Fed will move has triggered severe financial-market volatility as investors fret it might cause a recession. But sentiment was brightened last week by some better corporate news and a suggestion by Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic that a pause on rate increases in September might make “sense.”


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