Fed’s Lockhart Says ‘Very Unusual’ Election May Affect Spending

  • Says ‘it is part of the broader environment of uncertainty’
  • Atlanta Fed chief says people may opt to wait until November

The U.S. presidential race is creating uncertainty that could prompt businesses to delay decisions and consumers to put off spending until after the November election, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said.

“I’m prepared to believe that this very unusual election season, with the candidates who have emerged and the uncertainty associated with what will happen, is influencing businesses to some extent on the margin in some of their decisions, and perhaps households as well, in big-ticket decisions,” he said Thursday in Victor, Idaho, answering questions from the audience after a speech.

Fed officials typically try to steer clear of commenting on elections. Lockhart didn’t specify if uncertainty might stem from the prospect of a White House win by either presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, or his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Recent polls show a tight race.

Lockhart also stressed that his impression wasn’t based on any particular evidence. “We have not done survey work on that,” he said, adding “I can imagine there are people who are just saying,‘I think I’ll just wait until November and see how this sorts out.’”

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